Jocelyn Brooke was born in 1908 on the south coast, and took to the educational process with reluctance. He contrived to run away from public school twice within a fortnight, but then settled, to his own mild surprise, at Bedales before going to Worcester College, Oxford, where his career as an undergraduate was unspectacular. He worked in London for a while, then in the family wine-merchants in Folkestone, but this and other ventures proved variously unsatisfactory.
In 1939, Brooke enlisted in the Royal Army Medical Corps, and reenlisted after the war as a Regular: ‘Soldiering,’ he wrote, ‘had become a habit.’ The critical success of The Military Orchid (1948), the first volume of his Orchid trilogy, provided the opportunity to buy himself out, and he immediately settled down to write, publishing some fifteen titles between 1948 and 1955, including the successive volumes of the trilogy, A Mine of Serpents (1949) and The Goose Cathedral (1950). His other published work includes two volumes of poetry, December Spring (1946) and The Elements of Death (1952), the novels The Image of a Drawn Sword (1950) and The Dog at Clambercrown (1955), as well as some technical works on botany. Jocelyn Brooke died in 1966.