Being Dutch, I took an interest in this strange habit (no room for foxhunting in Holland)which creates so big a fuss these days was all about. This novel depicts the Great Days - the Edwardian era - of this British event, with hunting parties all over the country. . Clearly, a hunt or a 'event' was in those days as much a jolly social event as was village cricket. Though even then, there were protesting farmers. But the fox-hunt is not what this book is about (I suspected that much).
The book is great reading about the England John Major famously once wanted to return to. Sunny leasure days, village cricket, tailors in London, slow trains, hores races, stable grooms & no worries in the world. People were never in a hurry and had much more time on their hands. No shopping malls, no traffic jams, no rush. Halfway through the book there's mention of a character who 'is something in the City' as if this is extremely odd. Furthermore, your classic retired Army Colonels, Country Mansions and Village Vicars are all over the pages. Fantastic!
The hunt is the only passion of the author - more precisely riding his horse through the fields, jumping fences & being out in the open with a troop of dogs is what it was all about. The Great British Passion for Horses & everything that comes with it is vividly described all through the book.
And then came to war - The Great British Army stumbling into their worst nightware in the same carefree Edwardian way. People dying, but the author makes it perfectably understandable he only cares about his favourite horse. Still, his tone remains lighth hearted about the whole thing until the very end of the book, when personal losses enrage the author.
Great book, with a nice melancholy touch, depicting in detail a way of life which is - sad to say - forever gone - no point in arguing about it. A great historical classic. Recommended!