The River Comes First is an unfinished Arthur Ransome novel. In early drafts, he looked to write the book in the first person (from the perspective of Tom Staunton, the principal character), and while he later changed his mind, 'The Cloudburst' remains as a first person narrative.
- After that I've a lovely book about an old schoolmaster and a fisherman and a boy and a river. This is going to be my very best book!!! But I want to keep it fermenting for a bit yet. Hugh Brogan comments that As it turned out, "The River Comes First" was going to have to wait and ferment for twelve years: rather too long, perhaps (Introduction, page 17).
The first several chapters of The River Comes First (written in third-person narrative) are published in Coots in the North and other stories along with 'The Cloudburst' (written as told by Tom in the first person).