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The Unknown Ajax

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  8,519 ratings  ·  660 reviews
Miles from anywhere, Darracott Place is presided over by elderly Lord Darracott. Irascible Lord Darracott rules his barony with a firm hand. The tragic accident that killed his eldest son by drowning has done nothing to improve his temper. For now, he must send for the next heir apparent--the unknown offspring of the uncle whom the family is never permitted to mention. He ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published January 6th 2005 by Arrow (first published 1959)
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Average rating 4.09  · 
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 ·  8,519 ratings  ·  660 reviews

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Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
One of my very favorite Heyer novels! The romance is understated; it's more a comedy of ... errors? manners? both? But it is an absolutely delightful book, with memorable personalities.

I've got to go 5 stars with this one. The Darracotts are bickering, dysfunctional family, governed by a tyrannical, irascible grandfather, Lord Darracott. They are forced to welcome the new heir to the family, Major Hugh (Hugo) Darracott from Yorkshire. They all expect him to be a low-class, uneducated and unsophi
Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂
If possible I enjoyed this rollicking tale even more on this umpteenth reread!

Like in many of her later books, GH is experimenting more with the genre. The unlikeable Vincent is very similar to some of GH's earlier heroes (the Duke of Avon comes to mind) & our hero, Hugo is on the surface a buffoon, but we the readers are subtlely made aware that he is more than that, as we watch him seeing how much he can get his haughty relatives to swallow! Richmond is also a more complex character th
mark monday
Synopsis: Does the big lunk have a brain in his head, or will he be malleable clay? Inquiring minds, and greedy new family members, want to know.

It all comes together so beautifully. All of the moving parts, all the pieces of story that at first seemed like digressions, all the bits of characterization that seemed like they were perhaps just comic riffs... they all come together to create one of the most satisfying comic finales that I've ever had the pleasure of reading. What I thought was a lo
Richard Derus
Feb 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: borrowed, returned
Real Rating: 4.5* of five

The Publisher Says: A past dispute...
When the irascible Lord Darracott's eldest son dies unexpectedly, the noble family must accept their estranged Yorkshire cousin as heir apparent. They are convinced he will prove to be a sadly vulgar person, but nothing could have prepared the beleaguered family for the arrival of Major Hugo Darracott.

A present deception...
His clever and beautiful cousin Anthea is sure there's more to the gentle giant than Hugo's innocent blue eyes a
This is the weakest Heyer I've read. I can see why it's not one of the well known ones. Frankly, it's boring! There's way too much dialect (something that I find tends to get in the way in some of her other works as well), and nothing much actually happens. Even the action at the end isn't action. There's some smuggling potential, but that all happens off the stage. There certainly isn't enough going on to justify the hero and heroine deciding they love each other. They just decide it.

I really
May 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
An absolutely delightful comedy of errors!
Abigail Bok
Apr 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It’s hard for me to write a review of The Unknown Ajax without drooling and driveling. You see, its hero, Hugo Darracott, is my dream guy, and every time I reread this book I drool all over him yet again. And I can see no faults in this novel, no matter how many times I read it, so critique is impossible for me; all I can do is sing its praises.

At least I can tell you a bit about it, in case you have the misfortune never to have read it. The Darracotts are an ancient family living in a remote co
4 1/2

Another fun Heyer!

This is a dysfunctional family who gets put to rights by a "weaver's brat" aka Hugo. Major Hugo. None of the family particularly likes each other and no one is pleased to have the Major the heir to Lord Darracott's dwindling fortune. Especially as Hugo is a Yorkshire yokel who doesn't know the right of things. They are sure they can teach him how to be a gentleman. Big and dull witted looking, Hugo slowly takes them all by storm, even Anthea who was determined not to lik
This is my second review in AudioGals' Month of Audio Favourites, and I've given it an A+ for narration and B+ for content.

I haven’t read The Unknown Ajax in years, but it was one of the first of Ms. Heyer’s novels I purchased in audio and I remember being utterly delighted by it, thinking that the story came to life in a way I hadn’t experienced when reading the book. Daniel Philpott’s performance is nothing short of perfect and, re-listening to it in order to write this review, I couldn’t help
ᴥ Irena ᴥ
Feb 20, 2016 rated it liked it

The only reason why I am shelving this as romance is that none of the other genres would work either. At least it has some romance in it.

If I decided to go back and read Heyer I didn't enjoy as much as, say, The Grand Sophy or Frederica, this one would be on the list. While the writing is (no surprise there) good, it didn't grab my attention as I expected it would.

There is one thing that didn't really sit well with me. (view spoiler)
Lady Wesley
Oct 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lady Wesley by: Miranda Davis
This is one of my favorite Georgette Heyer titles, and listening to the narration by Daniel Philpott makes it just perfect.

Hugo Darracott unexpectedly becomes the heir to his grandfather, Lord Darracott. They have never met, because Hugo's father married a "weaver's daughter" and was cut off by his snobbish, irascible sire. When Hugo arrives at the estate his grandfather shares with his widowed daughter-in-law and her two almost-grown children, he realizes that they are expecting to meet with a
Rating Clarification: 2.5 Stars

I'm reet glad this Heyer is finished. Happen I didn't care for Hugo, the family Darracott or this story at all. Greatly wished this was one of Heyer's whodunnits, so that Lord Darracott could be murdered and Inspector Hemingway could arrive and solve the case, but alas this was just one sloooooooow and boring regency with little excitement, humor, romance or basically anything I've come to expect from Heyer.

While it gets high ratings from most of my GR friends (and
Aug 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A five star story and a five star plus audio experience. The extraordinary narration by Daniel Phipott brings this clever, funny, witty tale to life.

Major Hugo Darracott is summoned to Darracott House by his controlling, autocratic, manipulative grandfather. The old man has always known of his grandson's existence, although the rest of the dysfunctional family do not. His son married against his wishes to a poor common Yorkshire weaver's daughter... or maybe, unbeknown to him, not so poor, or so
Amusing story of succession.

This is really not a romance, but more of a family dynamics' vehicle. You have the unforeknown, dark horse relative of mixed origins hailing from the northern hinterlands plopped into the decaying Sussex/Kent gentry of the Darracotts. The "new", not really new, but new to all but Lord Darracott coming to meet the family after the heir apparent's unexpected demise, Hugo wastes no time in playing the idiot to meet his family's expectations.

Done for more amusement than s
Jul 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-own-it
5+ stars!

How on Earth did Georgette Heyer come up with so many distinct characters and so many completely dissimilar plots? The lady was brilliant, I tell you!

The Unknown Ajax centers around the extremely dysfunctional Darracott family, ruled with an iron fist by eighty-year-old Lord Darracott. He's sired four sons, three of whom are dead. His eldest, the heir, drowned recently along with the grandson who would have been next in line to inherit.

The crochety patriarch had cast off Hugh, the
Aug 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've been using Rachael Hyland's book Heyer Society - Essays on the Literary Genius of Georgette Heyer to guide my re-reads and am working my way through those titles in the chapter on Heroes.
Love Hugo, the deceptive giant of a man.Banter throughout is first class. After 40 years plus I still Heyer. I'm sure I've read her titles way more than three times each, but I've read so much over the years it's all a bit of a blur. Still a bit sad that when I made the rash decision to downsize my books I
An aristocratic family is reeling from the loss of two family members only to learn the son of the family prodigal is the new heir. And what a prodigal he is likely to be reared provincially in the wilds of Yorkshire in the wool industry and only attaining some respectability through an officer's rank in Wellington's army. Oh yes, the Darracotts are in an uproar about Hugo, the Unknown Ajax. As one of the most sparkling of Georgette Heyer's gems, I couldn't resist picking this one up in audioboo ...more
What an unexpected and captivating read. As many have stated there appears to only be a subtle romance element. However; even though the reader is not being smacked over the head with "l'amour", I firmly believe that the friendship, admiration and ultimate affection between the Major and Anthea underpin the whole tale.

This book really shows off Georgette Heyer's talent to marry a suspenseful plot with the depiction of a deep relationship blossoming between two fully well developed characters wit
Edward Hoornaert
IMO, this is one of Heyer's better books--if not the very best of the lot. Hugo is a marvellous character, so self-assured that when he becomes the heir to a barony, he plays along (and with!) his new-found family's low opinion of him as yokel from Yorkshire. His understated sense of humor appeals to me a lot.

The secondary characters really help to bring this book to life. Many of them start out to be stock Heyer characters--the fop, the arrogant and uncaring Corinthian, the aloof daughter of an
Aayesha Khatri
This book was, hands down, one of the most funniest books I've ever read in my life. I was giggling, sniggering, chuckling and snorting throughout the beginning of the story. (Why not the end? I'll come to that later.) Hugo was one heck of a character *snaps knee, laughing butt off* I don't think I've ever come across a hero like that, ever. Trust Heyer to come up with the best. She is truly such an awe-inspiring author, I love her.

The problem is, it kind of fell flat for me in the last third. M
Melissa McShane
Read 7/5/17: This time, I was listening to it as an audiobook, and it took FOREVER to get going. I hadn't realized before how much of the beginning--nearly the first half--is setting up Hugo as the dull-witted ox who's playing the Darracotts. The best moments were the interactions between Hugo and Anthea and watching Anthea gradually fall in love with him.

Read 12/4/12: I like that this is one of Heyer's romances that's more fiction/mystery/adventure novel. The scene near the end, where (view spo
Pamela Shropshire
The Darracott family of Kent & Sussex are the very definition of a dysfunctional family. Old Lord Darracott despises all his sons, and actually disowned one for marrying a "weaver's daughter. " N.B. Lord Darracott basically despises everyone except Richmond; he tolerates Vincent; but by the end of the book, he grudgingly admires and is grateful to "that weaver's spawn."

The players assembled at Darracott Place are: Lord Darracott; Mrs. Elvira Darracott, his daughter-in-law, and her two children,
Oct 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Georgette Heyer Fans / Readers Who Enjoy Regency Romance
Furious that his title and estates would now pass to his unacknowledged grandson, whose father he had disowned for daring to marry the daughter of a Yorkshire weaver, old Lord Darracott determined that his heir must be whipped into shape, enlisting the help of his reluctant, bullied family in the task. But neither he, his supercilious grandson Vincent, nor his spirited granddaughter Anthea, had counted on the "Unknown Ajax" and his lamentable propensity towards levity, and in the end, it was Cou ...more
2019 Review
I mean, is it truly a 3-star read? I'm inclined to bump it up a star. But also after the hero proposes I still had about a quarter of the book to go and I mentally checked out. It is a funny and well-written conclusion but getting there...
We'll leave it at 3 stars.

2018 Review
Well, I disagree with my younger self. I do not believe this book represents Heyer delving into improbable adventures. And I do not think the smuggler plot comes out of nowhere. It actually starts almost at the b
Lady Wesley
Jun 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fave-favorites
Five plus stars!

The romance is very low-key, but the hero is magnificent, as he tries to fit into this family he never knew. There's a large cast of characters, and each one is deftly and lovingly drawn -- even the ones we don't like very much. There's so much going on, with Heyer's trademark humor. Definitely rereadable.
Hugo is an army Major who is a grandson of Lord Darracott. Darracott's family have never met (or even heard) of Hugo, owing to Hugo's father being cast off for marrying a commoner. But when a couple of unfortunate deaths leaves Hugo heir to the title, he is summoned to meet the family.

Yorkshire born, Hugo is an imperturbable and sharp-minded man, who hides much of his competence behind a tendency to play the yokel, and his own affable nature. The story lets us watch his family almost as a whole
Jun 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: regency, historical
I really enjoyed most of the book except this time around, somehow I didn't find the big final scene at the end quite as satisfying. It seemed to be too busy and also a little too drawn out. Also, I would like to have seen a bit more interaction between our lovers in their final moment before The End. It was unsatisfyingly brief!

But, as usual I loved Ms Heyer's characters and was immediately drawn into the story from the very beginning. And the warring valets Polyphant and Crimplesham were hilar
I have had much fun. It is more family comedy than romance. There are different characters, some witty, some silly, some are bossy and so on. Add to this plot twists and a good idea for an engaging story and you will have a good piece of Heyer's work. I see here elements from her other books. It is one of these her books which have some sociological and psychological analysis of society and human.

I would prefer a little more romance, more "sparrings" between hero and heroine but clearly, in this
Lord Daracott has recently lost his heir and grandson in a boating accident. He long ago disowned his second son for joining the army and marrying a weaver's daughter, but now he must accept Hugh's son, a weaver's "brat" as his heir! The irascible Lord Daracott has little hopes for his country bumpkin heir, but sends for Hugo whom he plans to place under the tutelage of his more proper grandsons. Finally, Lord Daracott's plans include marrying his granddaughter, Anthea, off to her cousin Hugo to ...more
Namera [The Literary Invertebrate]
I nearly gave this 3 stars, but Hugh is such a spectacular character that it drove the rating up to 4. He's quietly hilarious, and maybe he's not sardonically witty like the Duke of Avon but he's no slowpoke.

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Georgette Heyer was a prolific historical romance and detective fiction novelist. Her writing career began in 1921, when she turned a story for her younger brother into the novel The Black Moth.

In 1925 she married George Ronald Rougier, a mining engineer. Rougier later became a barrister and he often provided basic plot outlines for her thrillers. Beginning in 1932, Heyer released one romance nov

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