Hardy's sunlit pastoral of English rural life, Far From the Madding Crowd is his best loved. Bathsheba Everdene has come to Weatherbury to take up her inheritance, the largest farm in the village. Her beautiful and unsettling presence draws three suitors: the local farmer Boldwood, the shepherd Gabriel Oak and Sergeant Troy, Hardy's dashing soldier-seducer who memorably declares 'All romances end in marriage'. Hardy arrives as a great novelist in Far From the Madding Crowd. Into its drama of swift passion and slow courtship he poured his intimate knowledge of Dorsetshire customs and landscapes, his love of poetry, the Bible and the classics and his immense unflinching curiosity about male-female relations. This new Penguin Classic, based on Hardy's original 1874 manuscript is the complete book that the author never saw published. It restores the original candour to Hardy's perennial classic.