Oliver Optic

Oliver Optic’s heroes are often allowed to enjoy their financial security. His “All Over the World Library” (1892-1898) follows the heroically wealthy Louis Belgrave, whose adventures depend upon his wealth.

Optic acknowledges his debt to Belgrave’s assets in the preface to the second book in the series, A Millionaire at Sixteen (1892), by writing, “Possibly some of my numerous friends may have accused me, after reading the first volume [A Missing Million (1892)], with being unnecessarily liberal to my hero, in supplying him with ‘the missing million,’ even augmented to nearly half as much more, so that he is actually a millionaire and a half; but the present story will assure such critics that even this vast sum was necessary in carrying out the purposes of the writer.”

Louis Belgrave would be a smug, obnoxious rich boy in an Alger novel, but Optic caresses him through such difficulties as almost losing some money, very nearly being sued and having no choice but to shoot a penurious rapscallion in the shoulder. Optic’s novels take comfort in noblesse oblige, even when the results are more complicated than strictly noble.

Cover of book  " A Millionaire at Sizteen, " All Over the World Library, by Oliver Optic. Picture of a ship on a red background.

A Millionaire at Sixteen

Cover of book "Brother Against Brother by Oliver Optic, The Blue and the Gold with cover that is half blue and half gold with images of eagles monuments

Brother Against Brother

Cover of book "A Missing Million," from the All Over the World Library, by Oliver Optic. Artwork of the globe with landmarks from different places in the world including the Eiffel Tower.

A Missing Million

Full page illustration showing the captain of a ship reprimanding a seated boy. A chair is upturned next to him.  Caption says, "You are in my power, you young reprobate."

"You are in my power, you young reprobate"

Full page illustration a man firing a gun at another man.  The two men are facing each other on either side of the picture.

"The right arm of the villain dropped to his side"

Full page illustration showing a well dressed couple with a sun umbrella accompanied by 3 other men, walking towards a monument in a desert.

"They walked directly to the monument"