Rogue Male

By GEOFFREY HOUSEHOLD

Geoffrey Household’s Rogue Male is one of the great, heart-imperiling suspense stories of all time, and yet –does it bump off all its admirers? — it seems to be forever going out of print. Now this truly literate thriller, whose fine writing amplifies the sense of excruciating predicament, is back again to fry the nerves of another generation of readers. First published in 1939 (and later made into the 1941 film Man Hunt), the book begins in a Europe infested with dictators, one of whom our hero, an Englishman skilled at hunting, attempts to assassinate. After being caught and tortured, he is thrown off a cliff to his apparent death. But lo! he survives, battered but tenacious, and the hunt for the hunter is on. His pursuers — a rum lot ranging from a dull brute to an insidious would-be gentleman of malign foreign make — chase him across the English Channel, into Dorset, and to ground in a hollowed-out bank verging an ancient, hawthorn-hedged lane. There, prey to “carrion thought” though he may be, he rouses himself to further prodigies of resourcefulness and a stab at revenge. What we have here is an existential meditation on the animal within and the nature of freedom, as well as — don’t look so glum — an absolutely blood-curdling tale of foul duplicity and vicious expedient, an enthralling portrayal of endurance and ingenuity, and a moving celebration of nature and the English countryside. -

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