Rogue Male (novel)
1st edition (1939)
|Publisher||Chatto & Windus|
|Publication date||May 1939|
The book was reissued in 2007 with an introduction by Victoria Nelson.
The protagonist, an unnamed British sportsman, sets out to see whether he can stalk and prepare to shoot an European dictator. Supposedly interested only in the hunt for its own sake, he convinces himself that he does not intend to pull the trigger.
He is caught in his stalk by the dictator's secret service guards and tortured, but, on the verge of being put to death, he manages to escape. After making his way covertly back to England, he realizes that he is still being hunted and eventually is forced, literally, to go underground. During the time he spends holed up in his "hide", he ponders on his predicament and confesses to himself that he would have "pulled the trigger", as punishment for the earlier execution of the love of his life by the totalitarian regime. He has to use all his wit and guile to turn the tables on his pursuers and escape from their clutches.
- Man Hunt, starring Walter Pidgeon and George Sanders, was a 1941 Hollywood film based on Rogue Male.
- In 1951, the story was adapted for American radio as a half-hour episode of the CBS anthology series Suspense. Herbert Marshall and Ben Wright starred.
- Rogue Male was a 1976 BBC TV film, starring Peter O'Toole, John Standing and Alastair Sim.
- The book was adapted for radio by the BBC, in 1989, as a 90-minute drama starring Simon Cadell and David Googe.
- In 2004, an unabridged reading of Rogue Male, performed by Michael Jayston, in fifteen half-hour episodes, was broadcast on BBC Radio 7. It was most recently rebroadcast on Radio 4 Extra in August/September 2012.
The book influenced David Morrell's first novel, the 1972 "hunted man" action thriller First Blood, which spawned the Rambo film series. Morrell has acknowledged the debt in several interviews, including: "When I started First Blood, back in 1968, I was deeply influenced by Geoffrey Household's Rogue Male."
Household published a sequel, Rogue Justice, in 1982. A five-part abridged reading by Michael Jayston was broadcast on BBC Radio 7 in 2009.