Lost CS Forester book The Pursued to be published

CS Forester in 1957 Forester wrote 11 books about fictional Royal Navy officer Hornblower

The Pursued - a crime novel written in 1935 by Horatio Hornblower creator CS Forester that was thought lost - is to be published for the first time.

It was lost after the English author decided not to publish it so he could concentrate on a follow-up to the first Hornblower novel, The Happy Return.

But a copy of the text surfaced at an auction in London in 2003 when it was bought by enthusiasts.

Forester wrote 11 books about fictional Royal Navy officer Hornblower.

His character was played by Gregory Peck in the 1951 movie Captain Horatio Hornblower RN and by Welsh actor Ioan Gruffudd in a series of films for ITV.

Forester - real name Cecil Louis Troughton Smith - died in 1966 aged 66.

The author, who moved to the US during World War II, also wrote novels including The African Queen and The General.

'Grim underside'

Forester had written The Happy Return on a boat journey from the US - where he had been working on a film script in Hollywood - back to England.

He wrote The Pursued back in London before he visited Spain, during the country's civil war, where he became interested in the 19th Century Peninsular War.

The Pursued cover The book is being published 76 years after it was written

Inspired to set a second Hornblower novel, A Ship of the Line, on the Spanish coast during that time, he decided against the publication of The Pursued and manuscripts were subsequently lost.

It is not clear how the manuscript for The Pursued - which was sold anonymously - surfaced.

Forester had written that "the lost novel was really lost" and that it was "just possible" a copy still existed "in a rarely-used storeroom in Boston or Bloomsbury".

The Pursued tells the tale of a woman who is found dead with her head in an oven by her sister.

Their elderly mother decides that all is not as it seems and plots revenge against her daughter's murderer.

Penguin Classics, which will publish the book on 3 November, said the book was a "twisted tale of murder, lust and retribution".

"It is a novel years ahead of its time - rewriting the traditions of crime fiction to create a gripping psychological portrayal of obsession, jealousy, torment and the grim underside of suburban London life," it added.

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