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The Unknown Ajax [Paperback]

Georgette Heyer
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)

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Book Description

7 Mar 1991
Lord Darracott's tetchiness is exacerbated when Hugh, the offspring of his disgraced second son, becomes heir to the title as a result of a yachting disaster. His Lordship determines that the only way to maintain the family's good name is to marry Hugh to his pretty and intelligent granddaughter.

Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Re-issue edition (7 Mar 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0749304529
  • ISBN-13: 978-0749304522
  • Product Dimensions: 17.3 x 9.4 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,128,067 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Author of over fifty books, Georgette Heyer is the best-known and best-loved of all historical novelists, making the Regency period her own. Her first novel, The Black Moth, published in 1921, was written at the age of fifteen to amuse her convalescent brother; her last was My Lord John. Famous for her historical novels, she also wrote twelve highly acclaimed mystery novels. Georgette Heyer died in 1974 at the age of seventy-one.

Product Description


"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.

Book Description

A witty and gripping Regency romance by one of the best-known and most beloved historical novelists of all time. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
57 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Argument for Ajax 6 Feb 2005
By A Customer
This one has always been one of my favourite Heyers, starting from the opening scene. The heir of old Lord Darracot has died on a solitary fishing trip and Lord Darracot's first reaction is: "Damn him! Damn him! DAMN HIM!". We are straight into the cantangerous heart of strained family relations.
The reason some Heyer readers have probably been dissappointed in this is that they have been looking for a traditional romance. Although this book has that, it takes second role in relation to the comedy of family behaviour. Never mawkish, Heyer plays with her cast of characters, recognising the fact that while relationships between family members can change, even rather suddenly, their characters do not...
This is one of Heyer's hero-led novels and there is a feeling that she sets out to counter her usual hero-types, as she does in The Foundling. And who could not love Hugh, our larger than life hero, the Ajax of the title. Hugh is in a way the male version of the irrepressible Sophy of the Grand Sophy and the antithesis of most Heyer heroes, blond, deceptively simple seeming and probably the least egocentric of all Heyer's men.
I love this book for Hugh, for his non-contrived relatioship with the clever Anthea, her cousin Vincent (One of THE usual Heyer-hero types, revealing some distictly unattractive traits...), for the whole Darracot family, in fact! For the pitch perfect comedy - the climax, as the Ajax takes the reigns of the family, is fantastic. For its intelligent observations on how shifts of power play havoc with extended family relations, cutting other members to size and allowing others openings they never imagined...
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars very funny, unusual hero. 16 Nov 2007
Of course all of Heyer's stories are funny, which is one of their greatest charms, and what sets them apart from the many lesser writers of romance. This one is one of the funniest. It has even less in common with other inferior romances, because it doesn't have the usual cynical romantic hero and young ingenue for a heroine. This is no loss at all if you appreciate Heyer for what she does best - comedy, engaging characters, and excellent writing. Heyer does the hard-bitten hero very well of course, but it is nice to read about an unassuming, gentle hero for a change. As one other reviewer has pointed out - the usual hero figure is there all right - probably a more accurate portrait of what a cynical hero-figure would really be like. And you wouldn't want him! The Darracot family are thrown into disarray by the startling news that the rightful heir to the title is an unlettered, vulgar son of a 'common' weaver. They are gathered at their ancestral home, resentfully awaiting his arrival. Naturally, things are not quite as they seem, and far from being a disaster for the family, it seems like Hugo might be the one to save them from themselves. Anthea, the heroine, plays a lesser role in this story. But she is the typical lively, clever Heyer heroine, who is unnaccountably on the shelf - or almost. If you like Hugo, you will also like Gareth Ludlow (Sprig Muslin).
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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
This is one of my favorite of Heyer's book. I read it for the first time as a sophomore in highschool. I was up until past two a.m. as I couldn't put it down. The next day, my ribs ached from laughing. 24 years later it is still delightful. (I do wish I could read it again for the first time!)
Captain Hugo Darracott is heir to his estate, much to the unpleasant Lord Daracott's dismay. Son of Darracott's once favorite son, he is the child of a Yorkshire miller's daughter. Lord Darracott, deciding that Hugo needs to be "whipped into shape" assigns one family member, Claude, the would be leader of the dandy set, to address Hugo's broad Yorkshire speech. Lord Darracott also decides to have Hugo marry his penniless granddaughter Althea. Neither Hugo, nor Althea are delighted by this edict.
It doesn't take long for Althea to discover that Hugo isn't everything he seems. Add smuggling, a ghost, and an over-eager young Land Guard officer, and you have a delightful story.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Among the finest Heyers 31 July 2008
By J. Hood
It is surprising that some readers don't think this is up there with the best of Heyer's regency novels, because the characters are wonderful and their claustraphobic family relationships beautifully and humorously delineated. Hugo is not the typical Heyer hero, but so much the better, and it should dawn on the reader, long before it dawns on the family that he is not what they think him. The climax, which I wouldn't be so mean as to give away, is hysterical, and yet Heyer sounds a note of real danger and, at the end, a whisper of pity. Claud is the vintage Heyer dandy; his brother, the sardonic and not entirely pleasant Vincent is the antithesis - yet at the end Vincent is not unredeemed. Anthea is a plausible, likeable heroine; Richard the typical younger brother, not unlike Peregrine Taverner in his early days. One of the best characters, beautifully sketched, and magnificent in her grand entrance at the end, Lady Aurelia, right out of the Lady Bracknell stable of intimidating matrons. Very, very funny, and as well as the climax look out for Claud's trip to Rye in what he fancies to be an acceptable costume...
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars It's okay
A good book to relax with. Georgette Heyer is guaranteed to amuse.
Published 11 days ago by Wanda Plummer
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Its Fine
Published 1 month ago by Christopher M. Wells
5.0 out of 5 stars My favourite book of one of my favourite authors
My favourite book of one of my favourite authors. Good story, plenty of action, interesting and varied characters all set in one of my favourite parts of England. What more? Read more
Published 1 month ago by S. SINCLAIR
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Georgian romance and adventure
Beautifully written full of wonderful characters and humour. Heyer takes the reader back to Georgian England so effortlessly. Read more
Published 1 month ago by greyferret
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Not the absolute best of Georgette Heyer but worth listening to.
Published 1 month ago by LK
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good read, interesting characters and location.
Published 1 month ago by haley
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful
Fun and diverting, like all Ms Heyer's books!
Published 1 month ago by PR Professional
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
All time favourite
Published 1 month ago by Eileen Bell
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant novel by the brilliant Georgette Heyer
Yet again an amazing novel by Georgette Heyer - I am never disappointed! This has a good storey line with likeable characters and gives a brilliant and authentic window into life... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Amy Nichols
2.0 out of 5 stars The (unsurprisingly) Unknown Ajax
I was attracted by references I had seen relating the novel to 18th Century (Hawkhurst Gang) s few andmuggling. In the event they were few and inaccurate. Read more
Published 3 months ago by henry jones
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