'The Charioteer remains compelling both as a snapshot of a particular - and particularly fascinating - cultural moment, and as a deeply romantic story of love fulfilled against the odds. It has all those qualities that make Mary Renault so memorable as a novelist: craft, subtlety, intelligence, and a terrific natural sympathy with the intricacies of honour and desire' SARAH WATERS
'An explosive and courageous book' SIMON RUSSELL BEALE
First published in 1953, The Charioteer is a tender, intelligent coming-of-age novel and a bold, unapologetic portrayal of homosexuality that stands with Gore Vidal's The City and the Pillar and James Baldwin's Giovanni's Room as a landmark work in gay literature.
Injured at Dunkirk, Laurie Odell, a young corporal, is recovering at a rural veterans' hospital. There he meets Andrew, a conscientious objector serving as an orderly, and the men find solace in their covert friendship. Then Ralph Lanyon appears, a mentor from Laurie's schooldays. Through him, Laurie is drawn into a tight-knit circle of gay men for whom liaisons are fleeting and he is forced to choose between the ideals of a perfect friendship and the pleasures of experience.
'Emotionally intelligent, beautifully written and deeply moving, it transcends categorisations' Telegraph
Simon Russell Beale studied at Cambridge before joining the RSC. Described by the Daily Telegraph as 'the finest actor of his generation', he has been lauded for both his stage and TV work, winning many awards including the Olivier Award for Best Supporting Actor, the Evening Standard Best Actor Award and the BAFTA Best Actor Award.