This novel was originally published in 1859. Mayne Reid, a pre-eminent and popular writer, was primarily a novelist (1818-1883) who wrote adventure stories from just before the Civil War until his death in 1883. Reid’s career included two periods in the U. S: 1840-49 and 1867-70. He had emigrated to the United States in his early twenties, reaching New Orleans in January, 1840, where he pursued a varied career as a shopkeeper, overseer of slaves, schoolmaster, and actor, with occasional forays into hunting and Indian warfare. Reid returned to England in 1849, and embarked upon a successful career as a writer of adventure novels and books for boys He was a close friend of Poe (though their writings were miles apart), played a gallant role in the Mexican War, worked as a journalist and wrote most of his first novel while in the United States. He was an influence on the young mind of Teddy Roosevelt, as Roosevelt reveals in his Autobiography; while Arthur Conan Doyle wrote in his 1890s essay “Juvenilia” that when young he always kept “Mr. Ballantyne or Captain Mayne Reid at my elbow”; Robert Louis Stevenson praised Reid in the Vailima Letters, and J. Frank Dobie has said he, “dared convey real information in his romances.”
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