The Romantic

A new “whole life” novel from William Boyd, the author of Any Human Heart. Set in the 19th century, the novel follows the roller-coaster fortunes of a man as he tries to negotiate the random stages, adventures and vicissitudes of his life. He is variously a soldier, a lover, a husband, a father, a bankrupt, a friend of famous poets, a writer, a jailbird, a farmer, an African explorer – and many other manifestations – before, finally, he becomes a minor diplomat, a consul based in Trieste (then in Austria-Hungary) where he thinks he will see out the end of his days in well-deserved tranquillity. This will not come to pass.

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Boyd is as magically readable as ever, and, as always with his whole life novels, there is an invigorating air of spontaneity ― Telegraph

The Romantic is certainly a crowd-pleaser, an old-fashioned bildungsroman that kicks off in the early 1800s and follows the hero, Cashel Greville Ross, through a long and peripatectic life . . . Boyd knows how to time the hights and lows, how to blend triumphs and tragedies, personal and historical . . . genuinely poignant and wise ― Sunday Times

Picaresque . . . these is a cornucopia of fine things here . . . The Romantic, always enjoyable, ranks with two of his best: The New Confessions and Any Human Heart. Both were intelligent and engrossing, novels you lived with. Both told a fine story very well. The Romantic does just that ― Scotsman

If it’s true escapism you’re after, William Boyd can always be relied upon to transport the reader from reality and his next offering, The Romantic, another epic that follows Cashel Greville Ross from 19th-century Country Cork to Zanzibar via Oxford and Sri Lanka, offers a wonderful literary getaway as the nights draw in ― Vogue, A Most Promising Page-Turner of the Season

A globe-trotting adventure through the 19th century ― i, Best Books for Autumn

Boyd’s pile-up of set piece escapades offers a huge amount of fun ― Daily Mail

One of our best contemporary storytellers ― Spectator

What could be more reassuring in troubling times than a new William Boyd novel?  ― Sunday Telegraph

Picaresque, big-hearted and moving, this is Boyd at the top of his game ― Guardian

This breakneck pace seems to be a function of Boyd’s exceptional imaginative facility, which sees him just as irresistibly drawn to new ideas as his hero is. Boyd, too, is the romantic. And yet there’s something irresistible about that energy – Financial Times

William Boyd at his boy’s own, balloon-flying, continent-hopping, historical name-dropping Boydiest. Our hero is Cashel Greville Ross, born in Co Cork in 1799, whose life spans swooping geographical leaps and great historical transformations. Think the Napoleonic battles, railways, Romantic poets, the source of the Nile, flushing loos, love affairs and pure, pure escapism ― The Times