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The Unknown Ajax (Regency Romances) Paperback – September 1, 2011

4.6 out of 5 stars 217 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"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 out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

The late Georgette Heyer was a very private woman. Her historical novels have charmed and delighted millions of readers for decades, though she rarely reached out to the public to discuss her works or private 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 her death from lung cancer in 1974. Heyer's large volume of works 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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Product Details

  • Series: Regency Romances (Book 19)
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca; Reprint edition (September 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402238827
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402238826
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (217 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #359,402 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Easily one of Georgette Heyer's more entertaining novels, "The Unknown Ajax" is definitely a book that can be read and reread several times over -- esp if you need a pick-me-up after a trying day at work.

When Lord Darracott's eldest son dies in a sailing expedition, the old despot realises that he will have to send for the much despised grandson, Hugo. Hugo's father (the second son) had thumbed his nose on convention and had married the daughter of a weaver against his father's wishes. For this piece of impertinence, Lord Darracott, had barred son and family from Darracott Place and had forbade anyone to make any mention of either son or grandson in his hearing. But now, with the death of the heir, Hugo Darracott, much despised grandson of a weaver and son of an ungrateful child will become the next lord of all the Darracott lands, and the very thought of someone with so much unworthy blood in his veins stepping into his shoes is making Lord Darracott feel bilious. And to that end, he has summoned his entire family in order to give Hugo the polish he needs in order make him worthy of his inheritance and name; commanding his grandson Vincent to take him in hand, and proposing that his granddaughter, Anthea, marry Hugo so that she can help manage him, and "keep him in the family." Both Vincent and Anthea are outraged by his lordship's proposals; but while Vincent has little choice but to comply (he has a very expensive lifestyle and needs his grandfather's handouts), Anthea has every intention of sending Hugo away with a flea in his ear. What none of the 'noble' members of the Darracott family counted on, however, was the man himself, Major Hugo Darracott of the 95th.
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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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Format: Paperback
Georgette Heyer, the reigning monarch of romance fiction, has contributed another winner to the genre with "The Unknown Ajax."
Lord Darricott calls his entire family together at his estate, Darricott Place, on the border between Kent and Sussex. His son, two daughters-in law, three grandsons and a granddaughter, are all present when he informs them that they are to prepare for a visit from his new heir within the week. Lord Darricott's son and former heir had been recently killed in a boating accident and Darricott has had the unfortunate duty of recognizing the grandson he has never met, who will inherit the title and all his worldly goods upon his own demise. Hugh Darricott, the new and recent heir, had been raised in the North country, far away from the family seat, and now, in his mid-thirties has left the military with the rank of major. Hugh's father was disowned by the family patriarch after marrying a common weaver, and never seen by the family since. Lord Darricott, who rules his clan with an iron fist, except for granddaughter Anthea, who fears him not at all, has made plans that Hugh is to be schooled in the ways of a gentleman by his cousins. He also plans for Hugh to eventually marry Anthea, to prevent him from making an unsuitable match like his father did. The family, forming all kinds of stereotypical ideas about this base born cousin, is prejudiced against him before he arrives on the scene. And he is the last man Anthea wishes to marry.
Hugh arrives and, finding the group predisposed to dislike him, puts them on and plays the country bumpkin. He discovers each family member's weaknesses and strengths, their characters, and comes to know each of them, perhaps, better than they know each other.
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