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Rogue Male (New York Review Books Classics) Paperback – November 6, 2007

Book 1 of 2 in the Rogue Male Series

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Product Details

  • Series: New York Review Books Classics
  • Paperback: 182 pages
  • Publisher: NYRB Classics; Reprint edition (November 6, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590172434
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590172438
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #98,081 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"A story that grows wilder and woollier with every passing sentence...Short, sweet, and compulsively readable, we dare you to try and put it down." --Men's Journal, #1 on the list of "The 15 Best Thrillers Ever Written"

"The quintessential cat-and-mouse thriller. The plot is simple and unbearably suspenseful...Household boils down his narrative to its rawest elements, and the effect is gut-wrenching." --Playboy

“Household…helped to develop the suspense story into an art form.” –The New York Times

A “classic of adventure suspense.” –Los Angeles Times

"Rogue Male must forever remain a classic." –John Gardner

"To my enormous pleasure, I read it almost in one sitting and was gripped from beginning to end. The writing is incredibly clear and the action comes so quickly that it is difficult to believe how much happens in the first five pages...It quickly becomes one of the most vivid lone wolf stories I have read." --Conn Iggulden, author of The Dangerous Book for Boys

"The quintessential man-on-the-run thriller." --Booklist

A “riproaring adventure yarn about a man being chased by the agents of a cruel dictator.” –The Financial Times

"Rogue Male remains as exciting and probing as ever, and the reason lies as much in its incisive psychology and timeless crispness of language as in its sensational plot." –The Times (UK)

“Simply the best escape and pursuit story yet written, with lip-chewing tension right to the end.” –The Times (UK)

Rogue Male is that rare literary species–a thriller which has lasted…Its title has passed into the language; you can buy T-shirts and mugs stamped with the phrase. Two films have been made…” –The Daily Telegraph

“A great book about an assassin who's a big game hunter and goes to Europe on the eve of World War II…It has the best opening page I've ever read and is not nearly as well known as it should be.” – Robert Harris, The Daily Mail (UK)

“And if you prefer your yarns more ripping, Rogue Male by Geoffrey Household is the rippingest I've read. Hunter becomes hunted becomes hunter again with scarcely a quiver of a stiff upper lip. Brilliant.” –The Times (UK)

“Rogue Male…has achieved deservedly classic status. It's an exciting story, told in a crisp, no-nonsense style reminiscent of John Buchan.” –The Mail on Sunday (UK)

About the Author

Geoffrey Household (1900—1988) was born in Bristol and educated at Magdalen College, Oxford. He worked all over the world, including Eastern Europe, the US, the Middle East and South America as, among other things, a banker, a salesman, and an encyclopedia writer. He served in British intelligence in World War II. His other works include A Rough Shoot, Watcher in the Shadows, Rogue Justice and an autobiography, Against the Wind.

Customer Reviews

I really recommend it if you're into thrillers or just reading.
I believe this is what makes the main character so relatable to the reader because he thinks and acts like we would if we were in the same situation.
Christopher Jantzen
This is a wonderful tale of pursuit and escape set in the Europe of the 1930s.
Dr. F. S. Ledgister

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

50 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Asmodeous on June 10, 2001
Format: Hardcover
The ultimate 'chase' novel. Gripping, absorbing and incredibly realistic. If you ever wanted to know what it would be like to be chased and hunted down like a wounded animal then this is the book you should read. In my opinion it is considerably better than John Buchan's thriller The 39 Steps.
The nameless hero 'Rogue Male' is stripped of all identity and forced to flee from the clutches of Hitler's henchmen.He must leave the civilised world behind if he is to survive. His only ally being his finely-tuned subconscious,primitive instincts.
This book is definitely one of the classics - one which I have re-read at least 6 times and one which I look forward to reading again in the future.
Geoffrey Household's story is so believable that often you are left wondering - did this really happen?
The story is extremely well plotted and, if you are reading this book for the first time,you just can't tell what is going to happen next or how the hero will escape from countless near death experiences...
Some people may find the story a little slow by modern high-octane hollywood standards. For example, the hero is a reserved 'English Gentlemen' and the death count is minimal (but hence much more realistic). Others on the other hand think the 'old fashioned' style is one of the book's strengths.
Basically, if you want something faster paced then try John Buchan or the modern SAS hero Andy McNab. But if you want the daddy of thrillers and one of the most absorbing and intensely rewarding reading experiences of your life then read this near-perfect thriller!
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful By "alasdhair_c" on December 28, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This is Household's best book. But to truly understand it you have to rewind the decades back to a pre-War England when loyalty, honor, ones word as ones bond, all counted supreme. The protagonist is a Rogue Male, the self-sufficient loner who takes on the world and in this case Hitler and his secret service. It's the 39 Steps, it's Scouting for Boys, and you have to meet it on that level. While Dornford Yates is prissy, Household is visceral. Read the book and then see the Peter O'Toole made for TV movie. The escape from Germany, the tube murder, the flight to Dorset, the eventual showdown between the hero and smooth, smart, accomplished villain, will take your breath away. Read and re-read. Then read the follow-up he wrote 30 years later, Rogue Justice, which is truly a worthy sequel.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Richard R. Horton on June 15, 2006
Format: Paperback
Geoffrey Household's Rogue Male is a classic thriller. Household was a British writer, born 1900, who spent some time in the US "just in time for the Depression". He began writing in the US, then returned to England. This is his second novel, published in 1939. He spent the War as an Intelligence Officer in Rumania, then returned to a fairly successful career writing. Rogue Male remains his most famous novel, though Arabesque (made into a movie with Gregory Peck, as I recall) is also well known.

Rogue Male opens with the never named first person protagonist aiming a rifle with a telescopic sight from 550 yards at a certain Head of State. It's never made precisely clear who that is -- a country on one side or the other of Poland, which leaves two pretty evil candidates as of the late 30s. It's pretty likely that Hitler is the real target, but the book takes care never to reveal which of Hitler or Stalin was the target -- on purpose, I think.

The protagonist claims he had no intention of shooting -- he was just "stalking the most dangerous game" for the fun of it, to see if he could be successful. This doesn't play well with the local secret police, who torture him and leave him for dead. But he rather incredibly escapes, and makes his way down a river, soon pursued by his enemies. He stows away on a boat for England, but soon is again pursued. When he is forced to kill one of his pursuers, he becomes wanted for murder by the British police. He flees to the country, planning to literally hole up for the duration. But even his careful plans aren't quite enough -- some bad luck leads to the British police getting a lead, and though he can elude them, the bad guys are able to track him down.

It's pretty good stuff.
Read more ›
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Leon on December 28, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Like the dictator he attempts to assassinate, the protagonist of "Rogue Male" remains unnamed throughout the novel. For most of the story, all we learn of our narrator-hero, beyond his physical appearance, is that he is upper-middle class, an experienced hunter, and perhaps famous. Beaten, left for dead, and chased down like an animal, his character is a combination of raw survival instinct and cool rationality, without extraneous motivations, attachments, or desires. It is only during the novel's final third or so -- which I read, engrossed, between 1:30 and 3:00 am one morning -- that our hero confronts his motivations, his past, his beliefs, his politics -- and his enemy. Another reviewer wrote that the book's conclusion relies on "somewhat dated notions of loyalty, honor, disgrace, and so forth", but this is not the case: the "dated notions" he refers to are approached reluctantly, from a position of cynicism and disillusionment. To reveal any more would spoil the story, but the discussion of motivation is more complex and fascinating than the other reviewer's comments make out.

The storytelling is pacey and suspenseful, even though the setting is not a tropical rainforest but the lush English countryside, and the protagonist is a tweed-wearing huntsman rather than a John Rambo-style commando. The book is realistic, at least in tone, and the narrator is entertainingly resourceful. Unlike some other survival stories, "Rogue Male" leaves you feeling grateful for civilization.

This is an example of literary genre fiction that is accessible, entertaining, and substantial. It's the kind of book you want to reread and recommend to others. I certainly will be doing both, and I'm glad to have bought it.
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Rogue Male (New York Review Books Classics)
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