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Robbery Under Arms [ By: Rolf Boldrewood ]

Robbery Under Arms [ By: Rolf Boldrewood ]

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About the Book
Robbery under Arms [1888]

Robbery is the crime of taking or attempting to take something of value by force or threat of force and/or by putting the victim in fear. At common law, robbery is defined as taking the property of another, with the intent to permanently deprive the person of that property, by means of force or fear.[1] Precise definitions of the offence may vary between jurisdictions. Robbery differs from simple theft in its use of violence and intimidation.

Among the types of robbery are piracy, armed robbery involving use of a weapon, and aggravated robbery involving use of a deadly weapon or something that appears to be a deadly weapon. Highway robbery or "mugging" takes place outside and in a public place such as a sidewalk, street, or parking lot. Carjacking is the act of stealing a car from a victim by force. Extortion is the threat to do something illegal, or the offer to not do something illegal, in the event that goods are not given, primarily using words instead of actions. Criminal slang for robbery includes "blagging" (armed robbery, usually of a bank), and "steaming", or organized robbery on underground train systems.

About the Author
Rolf Boldrewood

BROWNE, THOMAS ALEXANDER (1826-1915), pastoralist, police magistrate and gold commissioner, but best known as novelist 'ROLF BOLDREWOOD', was born on 6 August 1826 in London, the eldest child of Sylvester John Brown, a shipmaster who had served with the East India Co., and his wife Elizabeth Angell, née Alexander. He added the 'e' to his surname in the 1860s. He arrived in Australia at 5 when his father, captaining his own barque Proteus, delivered a cargo of convicts at Hobart Town and landed at Sydney in August 1831 with his wife and three children. The family lived first in Macquarie Place, but after Captain Brown had engaged profitably in whaling and trading he built a stone mansion and called it 'Enmore', thus naming a Sydney suburb.

Browne spent some twenty-five years as a squatter and about the same time as a government official, but his third career as author extended over forty years. He had an article 'A Kangaroo Drive' published in the Cornhill Magazine (London) in 1866, but it was not until 1870 when in Sydney that he began writing industriously to support his family. From descriptive articles he turned to fiction, and from 1873 to 1880 had seven novels published as serials in the Australian Town and Country Journal, with four others later in the Sydney Mail and Centennial Magazine. Thus, contrary to accepted opinion, he wrote primarily for Australian readers; only his later works, mainly pot-boilers, were directed to an overseas market, although all his novels were first published as books in London.

Robbery Under Arms is deservedly an Australian classic since the story telling is superb, the simple, direct style holds a vivid use of the bush vernacular by Dick Marston as the narrator, and the characters are vital, especially old Ben Marston, 'iron-bark outside and in', and the Marston brothers, described by Henry Green as 'the first thoroughly Australian characters in fiction'. A romantic spirit is skilfully combined with realistic detail, with most of the incidents based on actual events, e.g. the cattle robbery follows the lifting of about a thousand head by Readford from Bowen Downs station in 1870. Terrible Hollow is drawn from a sunken valley reported in the Gwydir district, whilst Starlight is a composite figure created from several bushrangers and a gentlemanly horse-thief called Midnight. The story contains weaknesses and inconsistencies in Warrigal's speech and Rainbow's star, but the stock criticism of Dick's 'moralizings' is mistaken, since Dick regrets only his folly, not any wrongdoing. The defects are minor in what Dr Thomas Wood calls 'a classic, which for life and dash and zip and colour — all of a period — has no match in all Australian letters'.


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