Sunday, February 19, 2012

Colin Forbes

Colin Forbes was the pen-name of Raymond Henry Sawkins, who died on 23 August 2006. Sawkins wrote a number of books under his own name and the pen-name Richard Raine in the late 1960s before switching to international thrillers and war stories a la Alistair MacLean under the byline Colin Forbes. I was a big fan of his Tramp in Armour, Target Five and Year of the Golden Ape when they were paperbacked by Pan in the early 1970s. Forbes, like too many other writers, got sucked into the 'blockbuster' novel publishing of the 1980s when what could have been a good 250-pager was bloated into 400, 500 or even 700 pages. Most thrillers were not strong enough to sustain that kind of length and I drifted away to read other things. A shame, perhaps, as Forbes' spy novels featuring the character Tweed have been well reviewed over the years and my impatience with over-written novels has probably cost me a good read or two. C'est la vie. I have been steadily rebuilding a collection of his books over the past couple of years and will one day get around to reading them, as I have been with other thriller writers of his generation (Duncan Kyle, Gavin Lyall, etc.). I'm still a few missing (as you'll see below), but hopefully this will be a trip down memory lane for a few of you.


Snow on the High Ground (London, Heinemann, 1966; New York , Harcourt, Brace & World, 1967)
Panther Books 0586-02401-8, 1968, 221pp.

Snow in Paradise (London, Heinemann, 1967; New York, Harcourt, Brace & World, 1967)
Panther Books 0586-02660-6, 1969, 207pp.

Snow Along the Border (London, Heinemann, 1968; New York, Harcourt, Brace & World, 1968)
(no UK paperback)


A Wreath for America (London, Heinemann, 1967; as The Corder Index, New York, Harcourt, Brace & World, 1967)
Mayflower 0583-11534-9, 1969, 189pp.

Night of the Hawk (London, Heinemann, 1968; New York, Harcourt, Brace & World, 1968)
Mayflower  0583-11953-0, 1971, 206pp.

Bombshell (New York, Harcourt, 1969; London, Dent, 1970)
(no UK paperback)


The Burning Fuse (New York, Harcourt, 1970)
(no UK paperback)


Tramp in Armour (London, Collins, 1969, as Tramp in Armor, New York, Dutton, 1970)
Pan Books 0330-02686-0, 1971, 286pp.
---- [16th imp.] n.d. (1983?), 286pp, £1.95. Cover by Gino d'Achille

The Heights of Zervos (London, Collins, 1970; New York, Dutton, 1971; revised, London, Pan, 1972)
Pan Books 0330-23324-6, 1972, 251pp.
---- [10th imp.] 1981, 251pp, £1.50. Cover by Gino D'Achille
---- [xxth imp.] 1996, 356pp.
---- [24th imp.] n.d., 356pp, £5.99. Cover by Chris Moore

The Palermo Ambush (London, Collins, 1972; as The Palermo Affair, New York, Dutton, 1972)
Pan Books 0330-23765-9, 1973.
---- [6th imp.] 1979, 252pp, 90p. Cover by Gino D'Achille

Target Five (London, Collins, 1973; New York, Dutton, 1973)
Pan Books 0330-24023, 270pp, 40p. Cover by Gino D'Achille?
---- [26th imp.]

Year of the Golden Ape (London, Collins, 1974; New York, Dutton, 1974)
Pan Books 0330-24627-5, 1975.
---- [4th imp.] 1976, 254pp, 70p. Cover by Gino D'Achille
---- [22nd imp.] n.d., 404pp, £6.99. Cover photo by Image Bank

The Stone Leopard (London, Collins, 1975; New York, Dutton, 1976)
Pan Books 0330-24817-0, 1976, 253pp.
---- [10th imp.] n.d. (1985?), 253pp, £2.50. Cover by Gino D'Achille
---- [xth imp.] n.d. (1992). Cover by Eric Tenney
---- [22nd imp.] 1997, 372pp, £5.99. Cover photo by Photonica

Avalanche Express (London, Collins, 1977; New York, Dutton, 1977)
Pan Books 0330-25324-7, 1977
---- [10th imp.] n.d., 315pp, £3.99. Cover by Tom Stimpson

The Stockholm Syndicate (London, Collins, Nov 1981; New York, Dutton,  1982)
Pan Books 0330-26769-8, 1982
---- [18th imp.] n.d. (1996?), 321pp, £4.50. Cover by Eric Tenney

Double Jeopardy (Tweed; London, Collins, 1982)
Pan Books 0330-38086-0, 1983
---- [26th imp.] n.d., 373pp, £6.99. Cover photo by Photonica

The Leader and the Damned (London, Collins, 1983; New York, Atheneum, 1984)
Pan Books 0330-28367-0, 1984
---- [xth imp.] 1997
---- [26th imp.] n.d., 693pp, £6.99. Cover photo by The Hulton Getty Picture Collection

Terminal (Tweed; London, Collins, 1984; New York, Atheneum, 1985)
Pan Books 0330-28813-X, 1985.
---- [24th imp.] nd, 485pp, £6.99. Cover by Chris Moore

Cover Story (Tweed; London, Collins, Nov 1985; New York, Atheneum, 1986)
Pan Books 0330-39456-3, 1986
---- [12th imp.] n.d., 383pp, £3.99. Cover by Sands Graphics

The Janus Man (Tweed; London, Collins, 1987; New York, Harcourt, Jan 1987)
Pan Books 0330-29721-X, 1987
---- [10th imp.] n.d., 461pp, £5.99. Cover by Tom Stimpson
---- [15th imp.] n.d., 461pp, £5.99. Cover by Chris Moore

Deadlock (Tweed; London, Collins, Jun 1988)
Pan Books 0330-30311-2, 1988.
---- [3rd imp.] n.d., 507pp, £3.99. Cover by Mike Timmins
Pan Books 0330-30311-2, 2000.
---- [24th imp.] n.d., 583pp, £5.99. Cover photo by Pictor International

The Greek Key (Tweed; London, Collins, Jan 1989)
Pan Books 0330-30706-1, 1989. Cover by Eric Tenney
---- [xth imp.] 2000
---- [20th imp.] n.d., 573pp, £5.99. Cover photo by Jake Wyman/Photonica

Shockwave (Tweed; London, Pan, Jan 1990)
Pan Books 0330-31279-0, 1990. Cover by Eric Tenney
---- [14th imp.] n.d., 558pp, £5.99. Cover by Chris Moore
---- [19th imp.] n.d., 725pp, £6.99. Cover photo by Photonica

Whirlpool (Tweed; London, Pan, 1991)
Pan Books 0330-31880-2, 1991
---- [8th imp.] n.d., 541pp, £5.99. Cover by Tom Stimpson

Cross of Fire (Tweed, London, Pan, Jan 1992)
Pan Books 0330-32241-9, 1992
---- [4th imp.] n.d., 552pp, £4.99. Cover by David Scutt

By Stealth (Tweed; London, Pan, 1992)
Pan Books 0330-32847-2, 1993
---- [8th imp.] n.d., 536pp, £4.99. Cover by Tom Stimpson

The Power (Tweed; London, Pan, Jan 1994)
Pan Books 0330-33474-3, 1994
---- [8th imp.] n.d., 535pp, £4.99. Cover by Tony Karpinski

Fury (Tweed; London, Macmillan, Jan 1995)
Pan Books 0330-34164-2, 1996
----- [5th imp.] n.d., 514pp, £5.99. Cover by Larry Rostant

Precipice (Tweed; London, Macmillan, Dec 1995)
Pan Books 0330-34354-8, 1996
---- [6th imp.] n.d., 477pp, £5.99. Cover by Chris Moore

The Cauldron (Tweed; London, Macmillan, Jan 1997)
Pan Books 0330-35209-1, 1998
---- [2nd imp.] n.d., 484pp, £5.99. Cover by Chris Moore

The Sisterhood (Tweed; London, Macmillan, Dec 1997)
Pan Books 0330-36987-3, 1998
---- [5th imp.] n.d., 502pp, £5.99. Cover by Chris Moore

Sinister Tide (Tweed; London, Macmillan, Dec 1998)
Pan Books 0330-48054-5, 2000
---- [4th imp.] n.d., 422pp, £6.99. Cover photo by Photonica

This United State (Tweed; London, Macmillan, Dec 1999)
Pan Books 0330-37489-3, 1999
---- [4th imp.] n.d., 533pp, £5.99. Cover photo by Peter Sherrard

Rhinoceros (Tweed; London, Simon & Schuster, Dec 2000)
Pocket Books 0743-41522-1, 2001
---- [9th imp.] n.d., 471pp, £6.99. Cover by Larry Rostant

The Vorpal Blade (Tweed; London, Simon & Schuster, Dec 2001)
Pocket Books 0743-44035-8, 2002
---- [8th imp.] n.d., 407pp, £6.99. Cover by Larry Rostant

The Cell (Tweed; London, Simon & Schuster, Oct 2002)
Pocket Books 978-0743-46138-2, 2003
---- [8th imp.] n.d., 424pp, £6.99. Cover by Larry Rostant

No Mercy (Tweed; London, Simon & Schuster, Nov 2003)
Pocket Books 0743-49001-0, 2004
---- [5th imp.] n.d., 322pp, £6.99. Cover by Larry Rostant

Blood Storm (Tweed; London, Simon & Schuster, Nov 2004)
Pocket Books 0743-49101-X, 2005
---- [4th imp.] n.d., 381pp, £6.99. Cover by Larry Rostant

The Main Chance (Tweed; London, Simon & Schuster, 2005)
Pocket Books 1416-51123-7, 2006, 370pp, £6.99. Cover by Larry Rostant

The Savage Gorge (Tweed; London, Simon & Schuster, 2006)
Pocket Books 1416-52643-9, 2007, 278+15pp, £6.99. Cover by Larry Rostant


In letzter Minute (Germany, Bertelsmann, 1979; as by Colin Forbes, Germany, Heyne, 1991)
(no UK paperback)

1 comment:

  1. I'd almost forgotten about Gino D'Achille. There really were some great paperback cover artists around in the 1970s!



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