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The Prospect Before Us
Dr Syn Alias The Scarecrow

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Dr Syn Alias The Scarecrow
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Where Other Waters Flow
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John Moore.1907-1967
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It's The Vicar!!
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Here's to the feet wot have walked the plank-
Yo-ho! for the dead man's throttle.
And here's to the corpses afloat in the tank,
And the dead man's teeth in the bottle.

For a pound of gunshot tied to his feet,
And a ragged bit of sail for a winding-sheet;
Then the signal goes with a bang and a flash,
And overboard you go with a horrible splash.

And all that isn't swallowed by the sharks outside,
Stands up again upon its feet upon the running tide
And it keeps a-blowin' gently, and a-lookin' with surprise
At each little crab a-scramblin' from the sockets of its eyes.
 
Captain Clegg's song

Plot Summaries Of The Books

  • Doctor Syn on the High Seas (1936?) "recounts the early life of this brilliant young Oxford scholar, who throws away the Bible for the sword in his mad quest for vengeance. By killing a notorious bully in a duel, Syn wins the hand of the Beauty of Oxford and accepts the living of Dymchurch-under-the-Wall. But his wife runs away with a friend of his, and Syn, abandoning his pulpit, follows them to the Americas. His enemy has hidden himself among pirates sailing under the Jolly Roger. Syn himself follows suit, calls himself Captain Clegg, and becomes the Terror of the Seas." The story begins in 1754.

  • Doctor Syn Returns (1935): "Doctor Syn is wrecked in Dymchurch Bay, sole survivor of a burning brig. Narrowly escaping murder, he ingeniously establishes himself as Vicar of Dymchurch. He might have succeeded in escaping from his piratical past, had not Mipps, an old pirate, discovered Syn's hiding place. Together they settle down as vicar and sexton. But Mipps becomes involved with smugglers, is captured, and Syn's hand is forced. He rides the marshes at the head of his Night Riders." The story begins in 1775.

  • The Further Adventures of Doctor Syn (1936) "is concerned with Doctor Syn's adventures as leader of his Night Riders. "Death to the Scarecrow" is once more the slogan of the authorities hunting him down on Romney Marsh. Syn's audacity in maintaining his double identity reaches new heights when he accepts a challenge to drink with the Admiral on his flagship. Syn, however, remains loyal to his King and assists in the destruction of a French privateer in the Channel. But his first loyalties are to his flock as both Parish Priest and Scarecrow, leader of the weird Night Riders." The story begins in 1776.

  • The Amazing Quest of Doctor Syn (1938): "A Welshman comes to Dymchurch to identify Doctor Syn and to inform him that the pair of them, as the last survivors of a Tontine, are the joint inheritors of a vast sum of money. He has been sent on this mission by his landlord, Tarroc Dolgenny, who is an unscrupulous villain and has planned to murder Doctor Syn, get the Tontine fortune paid to the Welshman, and then by marrying the heiress, who was a pretty niece of the Welshman, he could be sure of the money, and could in turn get rid of his wife's uncle. Doctor Syn journeys to Wales to pit his wits against his would-be murderer." The story begins in 1780. This is described by Arrow as the fifth book in the sequence, even though its action and publication date are both later than "The Courageous Exploits of Doctor Syn".

  • The Courageous Exploits of Doctor Syn (1939): "Doctor Syn is confronted by the most dangerous enemy of his career, Captain Blain of the Royal Navy. The by now exasperated Admiralty decides upon strong action against Syn and his smuggler band. But even this is not enough. The Scarecrow and his exploits make him into a national hero. Syn, as the Scarecrow, grows bolder, and he makes it known that he will hunt with the Prince of Wales." The story begins in 1781. This is described by Arrow as the fourth book in the sequence, even though its action and publication date are both earlier than "The Amazing Quest of Doctor Syn".

  • The Shadow of Doctor Syn (1944): "Once again Doctor Syn, Vicar of Dymchurch, scholar, wit, friend of the Prince Regent (the only parson who could make him laugh) and notorious smuggler, rides as the mysterious Scarecrow at the head of his Night Riders on Romney Marsh. Despite the Reign of Terror raging across the Channel, and the fact that England is at war with France, his luggers brave the blockade with their valuable cargoes of rum, brandy, sundry spirits and silks, to exchange for shorn wool and English gold." The story begins in 1793.

  • Doctor Syn (1915): "When this story opens there were two things of paramount interest in Dymchurch. One was Romney Marsh - visited, so the villagers whispered, by flaming Demon Riders and Jack O'Lanterns. The other was Doctor Syn, their genial, kindly, well-loved Vicar. To be sure it was a little incongruous at times to hear this godly man break out into the most ungodly refrain from the favourite song of the redoubtable Clegg. But Clegg had been hanged as a pirate - so it was said - full ten years before. How Syn's real identity was finally revealed when the King's men came to Dymchurch, and the strange part he played in the mystery of Romney Marsh, make this a decidedly unusual and thrilling story." The action takes place around the turn of the 18th century.
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    The Scarecrow Rides!

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