The Dukes

Published by Simon & Schuster and Piatkus, 1981
under the pen name Malcolm Ross

Alfred Boyce is a harassed manufacturer of lacquered boxes until, one day in 1849, the lawyers track him down to tell him he is heir to the dukedom of St Ormer. What follows is a three-generational saga that ends on the battlefields of World War One – 70 years during which Alfred does his best to reshape the British aristocracy while the aristocracy does its best to reshape him.

  • Carefully plotted and gently humorous at first, like Trollope's Barchester series, [it] becomes progressively more savagely satirical, like [Evelyn] Waugh – St Louis Post-Dispatch
  • And what a life it is! There is romance, intimacy with the royal family, excursions to Europe, and a front-row seat for exciting bits of history. It is, in short, an immensely readable and entertaining saga written with a style bound to please anyone who savors a good story – Chattanooga Times
  • A serious novel that might have been great – Los Angeles Times
  • Why bother [hiding behind a pseudonym]? This book would be marvelous even if it were written by Joseph the Plumber – Asbury Park Press
  • Ah yes! The plot is so familiar. [But] when fleshed out out by the pen of a skillful writer it becomes a beguiling and exciting story. In this instance, it is a stunning panorama of England from the mid-19th century to the close of the Great War – Daily Press, Newport News, VA
  • Not having any idea who ‘Malcolm Ross’ really is, I hope I don't make myself look stupid by saying he writes in the style of Malcolm Macdonald, only better – Cindy Dommer, News Sentinel Fort Wayne
  • A most ebullient English family dynasty novel with a difference, this combines melodrama, romance, sex, both naughty and nice, comedy and just the right number of dollops of British history. Ross treats his subject with an impish tongue-in-cheek air that is infectious – Publishers Weekly
  • He is every bit as bad as Dickens – Martin Seymour-Smith
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