Book First Published in May 1938 - 255 pages

This story was first published, in eight parts, as BIGGLES ON THE TREASURE TRAIL in Modern Boy, issues 1 to 8, dated 19th February 1938 to 9th April 1938


Biggles, Algy and Ginger are flying down to Capetown in South Africa for a 266 Squadron Reunion Dinner organised by Major Mullen, Biggles old C.O. Stopping over in Cairo, with plenty of time to spare, they are approached by a young Egyptian called Kadar Alloui Bay. He wants to buy their aeroplane to help in his search for the remains of a lost Persian Army. Lead by a General called Cambyses, the army was consumed by the desert in the year 525 B.C. Kadar also searches for a lost oasis called Zenzura and believes that aviators may have recently discovered it.  (In the third chapter of the book, W. E. Johns has Ginger say that he read about the lost oasis in “Popular Flying” and  Kadar reads from the article in the August 1932 edition!).  Intrigued by Kadar's story, Biggles agrees to an expedition financed by Kadar's father. However, there is a man determined to stop Kadar. He is called Fuad Zarwan and he is quite willing to resort to murder in order to do so. Flying to an Oasis at Semphis in order to meet a camel caravan of supplies, including precious petrol to refuel them, Biggles finds that his fuel tank has been deliberately holed. When the caravan doesn't arrive, Biggles uses what petrol he has left to look for it and finds them all massacred in the desert and all the supplies gone. Trying to return to Semphis, Biggles' plane is caught in a haboob (a severe sandstorm) and blown off course. Forced to land by lack of petrol, our heroes find themselves in strange mountains and leaving Algy to guard the plane, they find a hidden oasis. After a frightening trip through some tombs, Biggles, Algy and Kadar are captured by Zarwan and his Tuareg Arabs. They stake their captives out in the sun and cover them with honey in an attempt to feed them to the ants. Saved by Algy, a desperate fight begins and ends with both sides being captured by the strange race who dwell at the oasis, who are believed to be the survivors of Cambyses' army. Their captors sacrifice Zarwan to the crocodile that lives in the oasis. Then comes Biggles' turn to be sacrificed. However, Biggles has a surprise in store for both the crocodile and his captors and he manages to escape, taking with him some petrol, which was being carried by Zarwan's Arabs after they attacked the camel caravan. This petrol enables Biggles to fly to the oasis and scare off the locals before Algy, Ginger and Kadar are buried alive. Filling the tanks of the plane with the remaining petrol, our heroes fly to the Oasis of Siwah and escape.


Click here to see the story illustrations from the original HARDBACK first edition of this book


Biggles Flies South

Publication Details - published by Oxford University Press


The spine and cover illustrations from the original Oxford first edition



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The “Hampton Library” reprint – click on the above picture to find out more details