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1930-something: a professional hunter is passing through an unnamed Central European country that is in the thrall of a vicious dictator. The hunter wonders whether he can penetrate undetected into the dictator’s private compound. He does. He has the potential target in his sites and is wondering whether to pull the trigger when security catches up with him. Imprisoned, tortured, doomed to a painful death, the hunter makes an extraordinary and harrowing escape, fleeing through enemy territory to the safety of his native England. But that safety is delusive: his pursuers will not be diverted from their revenge by national borders; the British government cannot protect him without seeming to endorse his deed. The hunter must flee society, and he goes literaly underground, like a fox to its earth. The hunter has become the hunted.

Geoffrey Household’s Rogue Male is a classic thriller and a triumph of suspense. Described by Household as a “bastard offspring of Stevenson and Conrad,” the book is no less remarkable as an exploration of the lure of violence, the psychology of survivalism, and the call of the wild.

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