Illustrated by Gordon Grant. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1915. 6 pp undated ads. Original maroon cloth decorated in orange and yellow.
First Edition of this unusual tale actually written some time earlier, at about the same time as SMOKE BELLEW and THE NIGHT-BORN. He had just abandoned a book he called THE ASSASSINATION BUREAU, as he was interrupted by the death of their newborn baby and he never returned to it. He then turned to THE SCARLET PLAGUE --
a haunting futuristic novel about the end of the world, with San Francisco reduced to an archaeological site beside which an old man tells a group of young savages about the breakdown of society after the attack of an incurable plague. In one graceful reference, Jack acknowledged his debt to Poe, saying that some called the plague "The Red Death"... Almost casually, THE SCARLET PLAGUE ends in a hope of horses, with a beautiful stallion and a small herd standing on the wild beach in the sunset. [Sinclair]
This was at the time Jack and Charmian had renounced the big city (one recently reduced to an archaeological site, though by an earthquake) in favor of their horse ranch in the Sonoma Valley. His love of horses was a major theme in another novel of the same period, THE VALLEY OF THE MOON.
Macmillan produced just over 5,000 copies of this book, relatively few for London's titles; it has become a rather scarce book, vigilantly hunted by fantasy / science fiction collectors. This copy is very good-plus (a touch of wear at the head of the spine, but less fading of the spine than is usual for this maroon cloth) . Sisson & Martens p. 80; Blanck 11960. Item #13668