Now We Shall Be Entirely Free: The 'magnificent' novel by the Costa-winning author of PURE
By Andrew Miller
By the Costa Award-winning author of PURE, a stunning historical novel – the tale of a traumatised soldier on a journey in search of peace, which turns into a nail-biting hunt to the death.Tweet
I thought this was a beautifully written novel which kept me engrossed from beginning to end. I engaged with all of the characters, but particularly the main character Captain John Lacroix. I found this a joy to read.
I am not a massive fan of historical fiction, so am probably not the best person to review this book. I found the story clunky, boring and long winded, and rather missed the point of it all. Apologies!
I found this historical novel to be a thoroughly enjoyable read. The prose captured my imagination, I could clearly visualise all the characters, the journeys they undertook and the places they travelled to.
Not too far into the story it became apparent that one of the pursuers had an underlying reason to bring the pursued to justice to cover up his own evil actions.
The ending left me feeling satisfied and happy.
The year is 1809 and John Lacroix returns to his home in Somerset after fighting against Napoleon’s forces in Spain. He has to be carried as he is barely conscious and is traumatized both mentally and physically by his experiences. After a long recovery period he receives the call back to his regiment. Instead, he heads for Scotland, travelling under a different name. It soon becomes apparent that he is being pursued and this is where the adventure begins. We follow John as he travels to the Hebrides in an attempt to outwit the men on his trail. The story is written from a dual perspective, with alternate chapters following John’s journey and that of his pursuers.
This is an extremely well written and very enjoyable novel. Miller writes beautiful, yet accessible prose which I find quite compelling. The book is also a great adventure story, reminiscent of many written by John Buchan. Apparently Miller set out to reproduce the kind of boy’s adventure story he enjoyed so much when he was a child – I think he has entirely succeeded in achieving this aim. The tension mounts as the pursuers begin to close in, culminating in a gripping climax. The characters that we meet along the way are all plausible (although not all are pleasant), and there is a smattering of eccentricity among the local characters which adds interest. Miller is also particularly good at evoking atmosphere within a given landscape. He is in his element in the Hebrides and I could picture the scenes vividly, but his descriptions of city life were equally convincing.
I heard Andrew Miller speak about this book at a Book Festival last year and I wasn’t sure I was going to enjoy it. It sounded too lyrical and too esoteric for my tastes – how wrong can you be!! I am struggling to find anything to niggle about as I was captivated throughout.
I had only read one book by Andrew Miller before (Pure) and I really enjoyed it. This was a very different style of book but, despite the fact that I had high hopes for it, it surpassed all my expectations. If you enjoy a good adventure story that is very well written, do not miss out on this one.