Now We Shall Be Entirely Free, a high grade cat-and-mouse manhunt that covers the length of Britain during the Napoleonic Wars - a sort of The 39 Steps with added malice - is pitch-perfect.
By the end of the opening sentence of Andrew Miller's new novel, we're already knee-deep in fictional territory he has made his own. . . . . Miller has an extraordinary gift for conjuring actuality from the past.
One of 2018's finest historical novels ... successfully combines elements of old-fashioned adventure story with a moving study of a man in search of personal redemption.
A layered, riveting novel from a skilled storyteller
He is a very stylish, almost painterly writer, and he has Hilary Mantel's gift for historical reconstruction, for describing the past without making it seem like a wax museum. In some of his best books - like Ingenious Pain, his first, about an 18th-century doctor, and the more recent Pure, about an engineer in pre-revolutionary France trying to clean up an ancient cemetery - he brings off the Mantel trick of plunging you so deeply into the past that before long you take it completely for granted . . . A subtheme of this novel, where one of the main characters can't see and the other can't hear, is unknowability, how hard it is to make sense of the world . . . In its formal slipperiness, first one kind of book, then another, Now We Shall Be Entirely Free seems to be making the same point: that things are never quite what you expect, and history is altogether stranger than most accounts suggest. What makes Miller's own account so riveting is its alertness to wonder and unpredictability.
A propulsive, beautifully written investigation into atrocity, guilt and new beginnings.
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'
Miller recreates the past so vividly that reading the novel is never less than a fully immersive experience . . . particularly enjoyable and satisfying.
Extraordinary; his writing seems to discover, or perhaps creates, additional dimensions to the world, and in the reader.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Miller's beautiful sentences are a joy to read and his engrossing novel, teeming with vivid historical detail, is as suspenseful as any thriller.
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.
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.'
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.
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.
Enthralling . . . Miller paints a richly detailed portrait of a society in some ways familiar, in others impossibly strange
This exceptional novel is hypnotically immersive, as though the reader has been genuinely transported to an era when time moved more slowly and life was more dense and extraordinarily vivid.
The sort of novel I always long for and rarely find. Anything Andrew Miller writes, I will read, and Now We Shall Be Entirely Free is an absolute masterclass: observant, generous, beautiful prose, with a thrillingly plotted tale at its heart. Proof if any were needed that truly literary fiction can make for compulsive, suspenseful and joyous reading.
A profound exploration of culpability, written in prose that comes singing off the page . . . a compelling read and an important literary achievement.
Brilliant . . . The narrative is framed by beautiful writing and driven by guilt at what men are driven to in extremis. Spectacular.
I much enjoyed Now We Shall Be Entirely Free, in which Andrew Miller returned to more orthodox historical fiction after 2015's The Crossing and triumphantly proved there's plenty of life in the old form yet.
Scary, mysterious and thoughtful - the world of Jane Austen bespattered by mud, atrocity and driving rain.