From the French by Mrs. Cashel Hoey. Illustrated. London: Sampson Low, Marston & Company, 1897. Original rose-red cloth pictorially decorated in black, ochre and white, beveled, all edges gilt.
First British Edition, and first illustrated edition in English, of this title published about nine months earlier in America as FACING THE FLAG.
It hinges upon the extraordinary adventures of a mad French inventor who has imagined a diabolical engine of war that in its explosive effects surpasses anything in this direction conceived by mortal man... It has an added and highly piquant interest from the fact that Turpin, the [real-life] celebrated and excitable inventor, declares that he has been libelled in the person of the mad hero of FACING THE FLAG, and is bringing action against Jules Verne... Turpin is the chemist who claimed that he discovered melinite (the explosive now used for shells in the French army and navy). [from a contemporary promotional piece cited in T&M]
The publisher Neely copyrighted this tale in December 1896, and then beginning in early 1897 published it in several unillustrated formats of varying price. Sampson Low's FOR THE FLAG, fully-illustrated, was published that following October. Serialization (with the title SIMON HART) took place in Boy's Own after, rather than before, these book editions.
The front cover scene of an explosion is perhaps the most dramatic of all of the Verne bindings. Condition is near-fine, with scarcely any wear other than a slightly cracked rear endpaper. This copy is in rose-red cloth; others are in olive-brown cloth (no priority). As always with this color cloth, there is fading of the spine (and of a sliver of the rear cover, where there is also a faint splash-mark). Taves & Michaluk V044; Myers 24. Item #15096