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A.R. Lloyd (1927–) Biography

Personal, Addresses, Career, Writings, Sidelights

(Alan Lloyd, Alan Richard Lloyd)


Born 1927, in London, England; Education: Attended Kingston School of Art.


Agent—c/o Author Mail, HarperCollins UK, 77-85 Fulham Palace Rd., London W6 8JB, England.


Jersey Evening Post, Jersey, England, journalist; freelance magazine writer; full-time writer, beginning 1962. Military service: British Army, Royal Fusiliers.



The Last Otter, illustrated by Douglas Hall, Hutchinson (London, England), 1984, published as The Boy and the Otter, Holt, Rinehart & Winston (New York, NY), 1985.

The Farm Dog, Hutchinson Century (London, England), 1986.

Wingfoot, Grafton (London, England), 1993.


Kine, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1982, published as Marshworld, Arrow (London, England), 1990, reprinted under original title, Ulverscroft (London, England), 2005.

Witchwood, Muller (London, England), 1989.

Dragonpond, Muller (London, England), 1990, published as Dragon Pond, Arrow (London, England), 1991.


The Drums of Kumasi, Longman (London, England), 1964.

The Making of the King 1066, Holt, Rinehart (New York, NY), 1966, published as The Year of the Conqueror, Longman (London, England), 1966.

The Spanish Centuries, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1968, published as The Spanish Centuries: A Narrative History of Spain from Ferdinand and Isabella to Franco, Bantam Dell (New York, NY), 2002.

Franco, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1969, reprinted, Bantam Dell (New York, NY), 2002.

The King Who Lost America: A Portrait of the Life and Times of George III, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1971, published as The Wickedest Age: The Life and Times of George III, David & Charles (Newton Abbot, Devon, England), 1971, reprinted under original title, Bantam Dell (New York, NY), 2002.

The Maligned Monarch: A Life of King John of England, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1972, published as King John, David & Charles (Newton Abbot, Devon, England), 1973.

The Zulu War, 1879, Hart-Davis, MacGibbon (London, England), 1973.

Marathon: The Story of Civilizations on Collision Course, Random House (New York, NY), 1973, Souvenir Press (London, England), 1974, published as Marathon: The Crucial Battle That Created Western Democracy, Independent Publishing Group, 2006.

The Scorching of Washington: The War of 1812, David & Charles (Newton Abbot, Devon, England), 1974, R.B. Luce (Washington, DC), 1975.

The Tares Report on the Last Days of Pompeii, Souvenir, 1975.

The War in the Trenches, David McKay (New York, NY), 1976, reprinted, Wordsworth, 2002.

Destroy Carthage: The Death Throes of an Ancient Culture, Souvenir, 1977.

The Great Prize Fight, Coward, McCann & Geoghegan (New York, NY), 1977, reprinted, Independent Publishing Group, 2002.

The Hundred Years' War, Hart-Davis, MacGibbon (London, England), 1977.

The Gliders: The Story of the Wooden Chariots of World War II, Battery Press, 1982.


The Eighteenth Concubine, Hutchinson (London, England), 1972.

Trade Imperial, Coward, McCann & Geoghegan (New York, NY), 1979.


British writer and journalist A.R. Lloyd is noted for his "Kine" fantasy saga for younger readers as well as for penning fiction and nonfiction books that are both action-oriented and reflective. His animal fiction blends fantasy and reality and is praised for its depiction of English flora and fauna as well as for its ecological message and for the beauty of its prose. Under the name Alan Lloyd, he also produces informational books on historical events from world and British history as well as biographies of historical figures and historical novels. Lloyd covers events ranging from the Punic Wars and the last days of Pompeii through the Hundred Years' War and the Zulu War of 1879 to the rise of Spanish military dictator Francisco Franco in 1936.

Lloyd's "Kine" saga focuses on Kine, a weasel who defends and preserves his community against predatory animals. In a standalone novel for younger readers, The Last Otter—also published as The Boy and the Otter—a young otter—the last of his race—is helped to return to his river home by a nameless runaway. In both The Last Otter and the "Kine" books Lloyd makes his animals anthropomorphic, giving them speech and other human characteristics. Although some reviewers took issue with the author for humanizing his animal heroes, Lloyd has also been commended for his accurate descriptions of the Kentish countryside; for his expressive, sympathetic characterizations; for his lyrical prose; and for his exciting narratives. His novel Kine, which starts his three-part saga and was published in England as Marshland, was still in print over twenty years after its initial publication in 1982.

The "Kine" series introduces readers to native animals living in a peaceful woods and marsh. Led by a brave weasel and his companions, the creatures must fight for their territory against malicious invaders that threaten that peace. In Kine (first published in England as Marsh-world) the villains routed by the heroic Kine are minks; in the third adventure, Dragonpond (also published as Dragon Pond) an older Kine must battle a giant polecat, an evil owl, and a nasty ferret in order to keep his home safe. In Kine's last hurrah, the courageous weasel receives assistance from several weasel friends as well as from a rook, two thrushes, and a shrew. Remarking on Lloyd's ability to vividly evoke a natural setting, a Kirkus Reviews critic noted that "Anglophilic adults will appreciate Lloyd's mesmerizing tribute to the beauties and hidden ways of the flora and fauna of woods, streams, ponds, and fields."

Also set on the marshlands of Kent, England, The Last Otter describes how the otter Lut is saved from extinction by the care of his human friend, who finds Lut a mate and babysits the otter's cubs. Both the animal and the boy are attempting to live freely in nature, and each of them is being pursued: the boy by the local child care department and the otter by human poachers as well as by Fingertaker, a fierce old otter, and Esox, a pike. With the help of a reclusive landowner and an elderly boatman, the boy ultimately helps Lut to start a new family and thus carry on his race. Called "a well-written story that is both moving and thought-provoking" by Mary L. Adams in the Voice of Youth Advocates, The Last Otter was praised by a Publishers Weekly reviewer as an "intensely stirring novel" in which "Lloyd's compassionate, memorably lyrical prose evokes the primeval beauty of this terrain, and the splendor of every creature found there." Shirley Toulson, writing in the British Book News, predicted that The Last Otter would be favorably compared with two other classic English novels about otters, Henry Williamson's Tarka the Otter and Gavin Maxwell's Ring of Bright Water, because, like them, it "relentlessly confronts the urban reader with the slower, alien rhythms of the natural world."

Lloyd's novel The Farm Dog is set during World War II and features Zac, a mysterious mongrel who materializes out of the Kentish bog in order to help farmer Wif Tuck with his ratting and herding. Zac stays with Wif and his family through their daily struggles as they try to keep their farm solvent during the war; as the story progresses, the dog shows, in the words of School Library Journal contributor Annette DeMeritt, "stead-fastness, courage, and heart." As the war nears its end Zac disappears into the bog and Wif tracks him to the place from which he initially emerged: a downed German bomber. Calling The Farm Dog a "dog story that also tells a story of human life," DeMeritt noted that dog lovers will appreciate the "spare prose" and "vivid characters."

Biographical and Critical Sources


British Book News, November, 1984, Shirley Toulson, review of The Last Otter, p. 689.

Books and Bookmen, March, 1985, p. 35.

Fantasy Review, June, 1985, p. 29.

Guardian Weekly (London, England), July 21, 1985, p. 22.

Kirkus Reviews, May 1, 1985, p. 387; January 1, 1987, p. 11; July 1, 1991, review of Dragon Pond, p. 814.

New York Times Book Review, May 29, 1966, p. 7.

Publishers Weekly, January 21, 1983, p. 70; May 10, 1985, review of The Boy and the Otter, p. 221.

School Library Journal, March, 1987, Annette DeMeritt, review of The Farm Dog, p. 178.

Times Literary Supplement, May 17, 1966, p. 220; May 28, 1970, p. 584; June 9, 1972, p. 652; December 27, 1974, p. 1471; May 6, 1977, p. 554.

Voice of Youth Advocates, December, 1985, Mary L. Adams, review of The Boy and the Otter, pp. 320-321.

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