Rogue Male (novel)

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Rogue Male
First edition
Author Geoffrey Household
Language English
Genre Thriller novel
Publisher Chatto & Windus
Publication date
May 1939
OCLC 47707908

Rogue Male (1939) by Geoffrey Household is a classic thriller novel of the 1930s.

The book was reissued in 2007 with an introduction by Victoria Nelson.[1]


The protagonist, an unnamed British sportsman, sets out to see whether he can stalk and prepare to shoot a 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 wits 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 which the unspecified dictator of the novel is explicitly identified as Hitler. For this version, Pidgeon's character is named Captain Alan Thorndyke.
  • 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. For this version, O'Toole's character was named Sir Robert Hunter.
  • 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 broadcast again on Radio 4 Extra in August/September 2012, and most recently in March/April 2014


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."[2]


Household published a sequel, Rogue Justice, in 1982. A fifteen-part abridged reading by Michael Jayston was broadcast on BBC Radio 7 in 2009 and subsequently repeated there and on BBC Radio 4Extra.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ New York: NYRB Classics. ISBN 978-1-59017-243-8
  2. ^ "interview in The Book Reporter". Retrieved 2007-10-10.