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The Unknown Ajax Paperback – Aug 22 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca; Reprint edition (Aug. 22 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402238827
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402238826
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 13 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 113 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #185,147 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"Georgette Heyer is unbeatable" -- India Knight "Sparkling" Independent "My favourite historical novelist - stylish, romantic, sharp, and witty. Her sense of period is superb, her heroines are enterprising, and her heroes dashing. I owe her many happy hours" -- Margaret Drabble --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

The late Georgette Heyer was a very private woman. Her novels have charmed and delighted millions of readers for decades, though she rarely reached out to the public to discuss her works or personal life. She was born in Wimbledon in August 1902. She wrote her first novel, The Black Moth, at the age of seventeen to amuse her convalescent brother; it was published in 1921 and became an instant success.

Heyer published 56 books over the next 53 years, until herdeath from lung cancer in 1974. Her work included Regency romances, mysteries and historical fiction. Known as the Queen of Regency romance, Heyer was legendary for her research, historical accuracy and her extraordinary plots and characterizations. Her last book, My Lord John, was published posthumously in 1975. She was married to George Ronald Rougier, a barrister, and they had one son, Richard.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By yvette on June 24 2005
Format: Paperback
I just finished re-reading this book, and once again, it was great. This is one of my favourite Georgette Heyer books. I am quite in love with the hero of the story... he's clever, he's modest, he has a great sense of humour, he's charming, and he has a knack of making everything come out right. This story is really more about Hugo Darracott than it is a romance, although of course we do have a heroine, and also some mystery thrown in.
Hugo whose father was banished for marrying a weaver's daughter instead of a proper wife, returns to meet his estranged family when he unexpectedly becomes Lord Darracott's heir. Expecting the worst, they prepare themselves for an unschooled, foolish yokel, and poor Hugo is thrust amidst an argumentative and scornful family. Hilariously, they have no idea who actually has the upper hand.
Look for: Claud, whose manner of speaking is a bit like Freddy from Cotillion, but not as lovable, and more dandyish and clothes-mad. Lady Aurelia who is truly majestic and a prototype Earl's daughter.
Even though I'd read this book before, I still had to stay up all night to finish it!
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Format: Audio Cassette
This has to be one of the best Heyer-on-audio books that I have heard (so far, I have worked my way through Frederica and Cotillion several times, through These Old Shades once, through Regency Buck once, and through The Talisman Ring twice). Daniel Philpott undertakes the challenging task of portraying the various voices and accents of Major Hugo Darracott, the despised new heir to his cantakerous and tyrannical grandfather Lord Darracott, and all the voices of those around him.
I was taken aback when I first heard Philpott, thinking that he could not possibly do the Yorkshire dialect justice. A few minutes into his reading (well before the dialect and accent started) I was hooked. It helps that this is one of my favorite Heyers where I love even the asides from the servants. But Philpott shows us Hugo tripping up his hostile family neatly into his particular net, along with Lord Darracott, his several other descendants and daughters-in-law, Lt Ottershaw (the customs officer), and even the servants - Charles the footman, Grooby and the other valets, Chollacombe the butler, and Mrs Flitwick the housekeeper. He manages to create a distinct "voice" for each character, and to make each one come alive in a way highly satisfying to me.
Highly recommended, particularly in this unabridged audio book version.
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Lord Darracott's heir is dead - and now the martinet and generally gouty old man must call on the new heir, Hugh Darracott - the child of a mesalliance between his favourite son and a Weaver's daughter - thus the scene is set for one of Heyer's funniest and strongest romances.
This is the story of the heir Hugh, generally disliked in advance by the entire Darracott family before he arrives, and the gradual way he insinuates himself into the household, without ever trying. His good-natured humour, but iron-will win him friends, respect and love. God, that sounds so wet doesn't it? That's the trouble with Heyer - you strip the plots back to the bare bones and the whole thing looks pathetic - yet it is her ability to characterise, overlay complex story lines and inject the whole with an ironic voice that gives her books such strength.
The book is one of Heyer's best. All the action takes place at Darracott Hall which geographically is somewhere down on the border of Kent and Sussex, it has the requisite number of smugglers, dandy's, beau's and gouty grandfathers, along with a beautiful grand-daughter for a love interest. What sets this book above the norm is the wonderful hero - Hugh - or Hugo. He is a gem.
The first time I read this book I have to admit I didn't much like it. I was defintiely put off by the accent which Hugh adopts at the start. He did seem a clumsy oaf and I never quite recovered. However as a confirmed fan of Heyer I have come back to it again and again and not only has it grown on me, it is one of the top five (alongside Talisman Ring, Corinthian, Cotillion, and Toll-Gate). It is witty, ironic and the hero is so capable but so humourous I can't help falling in love with him each time I read it.
The story develops at an even pace.
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By Angela W on Feb. 25 2002
I am a very long time fan of GH. Her best books combine a talent for humor, plot twists and characterization. The Unknown Ajax combines these talents to perfection as the hero (see other reviews for plot synopsis) impales his erst-while relatives on his very reprehensible predilition for practical jokes. In so doing he manages to get the feisty heroine to fall in love with him as well as saving the family's honor. But if the hero were the only high point in the book, it would be mediocre by GH standards. Look too for a very funny aristocratic aunt, a grandfatherly curmudgeon, the de riguer independently minded heroine and a wonderfully dithering prospective mother in law. This cast of characters has pulled me back to read the book at least as many times as I've read Jane Austin's Pride and Prejudice. I consider Heyer as her most worthy sucessor.
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