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Comment: Title: The Unknown Ajax, Publisher: Heinemann, Binding: Hardcover, 1959. First Edition. 314 pages. No dust jacket. Brown cloth boards. Mild age toning within,but neat and clean. Tanning to page ends. Some sunning to the spine and board edges. A few odd marks to the front and rear boards.A solid reading copy only. Check our feedback, all books quality controlled and dispatched within 24 hours of order.
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The unknown Ajax Hardcover – 1 Jan 1959

4.5 out of 5 stars 98 customer reviews

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Hardcover, 1 Jan 1959
--This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 314 pages
  • Publisher: Heinemann; First Edition edition (1959)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0000CKF0S
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 16.7 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (98 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,348,293 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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 the Audio CD 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 the Audio CD edition.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 6 Feb. 2005
Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
I was very enthused about this book because it had lots of 4 and 5 star ratings - a good sign when it's Ms. Heyer. Although I consider myself to have a decent vocabulary because I always score pretty high on those Reader's Digest vocab quizzes - for the life of me, I couldn't figure out what an "Ajax" was except of course for the cleaning product. So, before we go any further, let me provide you with the best definition I could come up with via the internet.

Ajax: "A Greek hero of the Trojan War, son of Telamon, king of Salamis. He was proverbial for his size and strength." Since this book isn't about a Greek hero, then we must turn to the latter part of the definition: "He was proverbial (well known) for his size and strength." That meaning makes sense within the context of the storyline of the "Unknown Ajax."

Because I found the first few pages a bit confusing, I decided to write this review a little different than is my norm. One thing I have learned about Georgette Heyer's writing. She tends to carefully draw out her characters to the point, I am nearly screaming for her to get to move on into the story. However, the very complete character development greatly benefits the reader once the story gets moving because one can then just sit back and enjoy the dialogue as your mind "pictures" the characters with all their strengths and foibles. Below, you will find a list of characters in this book along with a description of each character - not in any particular order:

Mrs. Darracott (Elvira): Widowed daughter-in-law of Lord Darracott. Mother of Anthea and Richard. Elvira's husband has been dead for 12 years. He must have been the 4th son - I don't recall the book mentioning his birth order, but it's a process of elimination.
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