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H. H. Munro ('Saki') | When William Came (1914)

H. H. Munro ('Saki') | When William Came

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When William Came

H. H. Munro ('Saki')


The 1914 fourth edition, of Saki's classic novel of a German invasion of Britain, published just before the outbreak of WW1. The 1st edition was published in November 1913. The "William" of the book's title is Kaiser Wilhelm II of the House of Hohenzollern. The book chronicles life in London under German occupation and the changes that come with a foreign army's invasion and triumph. Like Erskine Childers's novel The Riddle of the Sands (1903), it predicts the Great War (in which Saki would be killed) and is an example of invasion literature, a literary genre which flourished at the beginning of the 20th century as tensions between the European great powers increased. Much of the book is an argument for compulsory military service, about which there was then a major controversy. The scene in which an Imperial decree is announced in a subjugated London, excusing the unmilitary British from serving in the Kaiser's armies, is particularly bitter. There are also several vignettes exemplifying the differences between the English and the continental way of life. When William Came is now regarded as an important contribution to the literature of the First World War.

H. H. Munro (’Saki’) (1870–1916): Hector Hugh Munro, better known by the pen name Saki, and also frequently as H. H. Munro, was a British writer whose witty, mischievous and sometimes macabre stories satirize Edwardian society and culture. He is considered a master of the short story. Influenced by Oscar Wilde, Lewis Carroll and Rudyard Kipling, he himself influenced A. A. Milne, Noël Coward and P. G. Wodehouse. Besides his short stories he wrote a full-length play, The Watched Pot, in collaboration with Charles Maude; two one-act plays; a historical study, The Rise of the Russian Empire, the only book published under his own name; a short novel, The Unbearable Bassington; the episodic The Westminster Alice (a parliamentary parody of Alice in Wonderland); and When William Came (1913), subtitled A Story of London Under the Hohenzollerns, a fantasy about a future German invasion and occupation of Britain. At the start of the First World War Munro was 43 and officially over-age to enlist, but he refused a commission and joined the 2nd King Edward's Horse as an ordinary trooper. He later transferred to the 22nd Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers, in which he rose to the rank of lance sergeant. More than once he returned to the battlefield when officially still too sick or injured. In November 1916 he was sheltering in a shell crater near Beaumont-Hamel, France, during the Battle of the Ancre, when he was killed by a German sniper. According to several sources, his last words were "Put that bloody cigarette out!"


In very good condition. The boards are in very good condition. The binding and hinges are very good and secure. The text is in very good condition, with a few minor marks. Overall, an excellent copy of this important WW1 novel.

Published: 1914
Blue boards with black titling
Dimensions: 135mm x 190mm
Pages: 241