Now We Shall Be Entirely Free
Mr B's review
Mr B’s Christmas Catalogue Review 2018
It is a well-known fact at Mr B’s that I am rather enamoured with Andrew Miller, and this book has only made it worse. Oozing with tension and beautiful prose, this novel centres around John Lacroix – a Captain returned from the Napoleonic War with partial deafness and unrecognised PTSD. As Lacroix recovers in the Scottish Isles, aided by members of an isolated community, it becomes clear that he is being hunted by fellow soldiers after being charged with war crimes.
The rapturously acclaimed new novel by the Costa Award-winning author of PURE, hailed as ‘excellent’, ‘gripping’, ‘as suspenseful as any thriller’, ‘engrossing’, ‘moving’ and ‘magnificent’.
One rainswept winter’s night in 1809, an unconscious man is carried into a house in Somerset. He is Captain John Lacroix, home from Britain’s disastrous campaign against Napoleon’s forces in Spain.
Gradually Lacroix recovers his health, but not his peace of mind. He will not – cannot – talk about the war or face the memory of what took place on the retreat to Corunna. After the command comes to return to his regiment, he lights out instead for the Hebrides, unaware that he has far worse to fear than being dragged back to the army: a vicious English corporal and a Spanish officer with secret orders are on his trail.
In luminous prose, Miller portrays a man shattered by what he has witnessed, on a journey that leads to unexpected friendships, even to love. But as the short northern summer reaches its zenith, the shadow of the enemy is creeping closer. Freedom, for John Lacroix, will come at a high price. Taut with suspense, this is an enthralling, deeply involving novel by one of Britain’s most acclaimed writers.
‘His writing suspends life until it is read and is a source of wonder and delight’ Hilary Mantel on Casanova in the Sunday Times
A beautifully observed historical thriller … With writing that’s elegiac and enthralling, this is a chase story with a wry edge and a romantic heart. * AnOther Magazine * Extraordinary; his writing seems to discover, or perhaps creates, additional dimensions to the world, and in the reader. — Sarah Hall A novel that would not feel out of place in the collected work of Robert Louis Stevenson, Walter Scott or, indeed, alongside William Golding’s To the Ends of the Earth trilogy. …The joy of reading an Andrew Miller novel is his obvious passion for story and sensual language, and his ability to interweave the two seamlessly. The former is an often-forgotten art form in the contemporary novel, which often seeks to impress rather than entertain, but the latter is what makes him one of the most impressive novelists at work today. — John Boyne * Irish Times * Andrew Miller can spin a ripping yarn with the skill and assurance of a master and the winner of the 2011 Costa Book of the Year for Pure is at the top of his game with Now We Shall Be Entirely Free . . . He fills his novel with vividly etched characters and has a way with words that delights, surprises and enthrals. There is never a dull sentence or commonplace description’ — Allan Hunter * Sunday Express * The tension is so finely balanced between hunter and hunted that the alternating chapters ultimately form one beautifully integrated whole, whilst the historical setting is perfectly realised . . . a magnificent novel.’ — Eilis O’Hanlon * Irish Independent * Miller’s beautiful sentences are a joy to read and his engrossing novel, teeming with vivid historical detail, is as suspenseful as any thriller. — Neil Armstrong * Mail on Sunday * Since the publication in 1997 of his first novel … his books have revealed a powerful imagination at work, and one that is also rooted in the precisely yet poetically described realities of daily life. … In his new novel, he succeeds in creating an involving, suspenseful drama and a moving portrait of a man in search of redemption from the violence of his past. — Nick Rennison * Sunday Times * There is only one Andrew Miller. In the 20 years since his debut novel Ingenious Pain won both the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, he has written a series of books which have captured the imaginations of readers and critics alike . . . The plot grips and surprises. Miller’s prose remains poetic and taut with an eye for the telling detail . . . he excels at creating characters who are defined, not limited, by a specific time and place, not just Lacroix, Calley and Medina but the minor players too. Historical or otherwise, this is fiction – storytelling – at its best. — Andy Miller * Spectator * In his luminous prose, Costa Prize winner Andrew Miller conjures three very different men, but their experiences have all been traumatising. Manhunt and pilgrimage, the tale unfolds into a gripping and, ultimately, surprising exploration of the inner battleground. — Elizabeth Buchan * Daily Mail * Both a ripping yarn and a skilful mediation on absence … The pacing of his story is excellent; his style is crisp; his apprehension of pain is arresting; and his ability to show people trembling at the edge of unreason is compelling. — Andrew Motion * Guardian * Excellent … a novel of delicately shifting moods, a pastoral comedy and passionate romance story alternating with a blackly menacing thriller. It is also a book of ideas: about male violence, the impact of war and the price of freedom. — Johanna Thomas-Corr * Observer * Miller recreates the past so vividly that reading the novel is never less than a fully immersive experience . . . particularly enjoyable and satisfying. — James Walton * The Times * There is only one Andrew Miller. In the 20 years since his debut novel Ingenious Pain won both the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, he has written a series of books which have captured the imaginations of readers and critics alike . . . The plot grips and surprises. Miller’s prose remains poetic and taut with an eye for the telling detail . . . he excels at creating characters who are defined, not limited, by a specific time and place, not just Lacroix, Calley and Medina but the minor players too. Historical or otherwise, this is fiction – storytelling – at its best.’ — Andy Miller * Spectator *