Populated with some of the most memorable characters and ending with a protracted scene reminiscent of the comic opera is the Heyer’s funniest book, The Unknown Ajax. This is a great novel that will introduce Heyer to anyone who hasn’t read about her works.
Miles away from anywhere, Darracott Place is led by one Lord Darracott who is one irresistible man. There are however recent drowning of his eldest son which has done nothing at all in improving his temper. He is now to send for the unknown offspring of the uncle one that the family is not even supposed to mention in any way.
The major Hugo Darracott is now unwelcome heir to his title. After being summoned to an estate along with his grandfather, for the old man to meet his future heir, Darracott is unwilling. His younger cousin, Richmond, on the other hand, rebels against his grandfather rule. He even goes ahead to get involved with the Free Trade of the time which was well known as the smuggling. The custom control officer is fearing to get the young man lest he tarnishes the name of the family. This is Lieutenant Ottershaw. Arresting Richmond would have adverse effects.
Lord Darracott puts a lot of pressure on the older grandchildren that they need to educate Hugo. They are; Vincent, Anthea, and Claud. He also discourages Hugo a lot on getting involved with the young Richmond. Richmond is young and army mad but he is still Lord Darracott’s favorite. The grandfather, therefore, protects him and would never let him leave the place.
The three grandchildren however oblige. To Vincent, his grandfather bribes him financially thus they respect him. Claud is a dandy who wishes to be influential at some point in time and Anthea eases the grandfathers bullying of her mother.
With time Hugo gets to realize that something is going wrong at the Darracott Place. One thing that makes him really uncomfortable is the positive way the family has embraced smuggling that is actually illegal according to the laws of the land. The financial strength of the family is as well really wanting.
The lands that the family owns are very rich but the tenant’s farms are maintained in a very poor way. The worst thing actually is that the family buildings which is the Darracott Place and Dower House is only maintained by a single servant. You can, therefore, imagine the condition in which the house is in at the moment. Richmond having joined the smuggling and customs office gets alerted, the family still wants to protect him. A farcical scene comes to be being planned by Hugo. Claud and Richmond pretend they are drunk and are just playing cards in a way to deceive the customs office.
Later in the scene, Anthea is falling for Hugo. The strength and leadership that he showcases is what made her yearn for him. A discouragement, however, comes in with Vincent revealing that Hugo is simply an educated grandson and an heir to the mill owner and he is not like Vincent who has to work to get his own.
Anthea hates being called a gold digger and this hinders to proceed with her feelings. Hugo cannot be cowered by such a comment and therefore manages to convince Anthea to marry him and he offers to always protect her from such matchmaking mamas. This is an offer she can’t dare resist.