The Elixir of Life

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“I have done my best to drive away the feeling of death,” she said. “There is that feeling in every room of this oldhouse, which has lain empty so long. There is a feeling of death even in the park that surrounds it. But there is one
little plot that has been saved from the wilderness. That is the rose-garden. The roses alone seem untouched by thefinger of death.”

For Richard Stanborough an invitation to Killigrew Hall offers an opportunity to pursue his passion for philosophy.

But the hall hides philosophy’s darkest secret. Soon Richard will have to choose between life, death and love. Yet how can he, when the very meaning of life itself has changed?

Thriller, horror and historical romance, The Elixir of Life is both Arthur Ransome’s first published novel and the only one he wrote for adults. As Christina Hardyment’s introduction explains, it is utterly unlike Swallows and Amazons and its sequels. Even so, readers familiar with the latter will find hints in The Elixir of the celebrated novelist Ransome would become, whilst all may enjoy this fast-paced and unusual thriller in its own right.

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Further information

In this section:

UK and overseas customers
Trade customers

Carrying up the puncheon
Swallows and Amazons

UK and overseas customers


Postage and packing is calculated by destination and weight, and shown in your shopping bag and checkout.

Our UK p&p charges are currently £1.25 for combined product weights up to 90gm, £1.85 for combined weights up to 235gm, £2.35 or £3.65 for combined weights up to 400gm (dependent on volume), £3.65 for combined weights up to 1.85kg, and £8.95 for combined weights up to 8.0kg.

Ways to order

UK customers may order online or by mail order.

If you are in Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, the USA or an EU member state, you can place online orders with a combined product weight of 1.85kg or less.

We regret that we do not currently process larger orders from these countries, or any orders from other countries, online. However, you can order by sending us an overseas order enquiry.


We take payment for UK online and all overseas orders via Paypal. You can pay using your credit or debit card by selecting “guest” within the Paypal portal. UK mail orders may pay by cheque. Cheques must be crossed and made payable to “Arthur Ransome Trust”.


We will process and post your order as soon as possible. In most cases delivery should be within 3 – 4 business days for UK customers, 4 – 6 days within the EU, and 6 – 8 days elsewhere overseas. But please note that our shop is not staffed 24 hours per day, or 365 days each year (we need some time off for enjoyable Ransome adventures, after all). It is always possible that your order will coincide with our being half way to Wild Cat Island or at an ART event. Please therefore allow up to 28 days for delivery.

Full terms of sale

The above information is only a summary of our full Shop Terms of Sale. Please read these before placing your order, as they contain important further information about postage, ordering, payment, dispatch, customs (for overseas orders) and how you may cancel your order. When you order you accept these terms of sale and our other published Terms and Conditions.

Trade customers

Routine orders for ART Publications can be made via Nielsen BookNet Service.

Alternately, please email your order or enquiry to