Nathan Leamon's THE TEST is a must-read novel for all cricket fans.
'If all you know is cricket, then cricket will break you . . .'
It is the final Test match of The Ashes. A nation expects, and the rest of the cricketing world is watching.
Fast-paced, humorous and candid, The Test follows the battles on and off the field as stand-in England captain, James McCall, tries to get his exhausted team across the finish line. Along the way, his story becomes one of fatherhood, friendship and trusting yourself when no one else will.
Nathan Leamon's love letter to Test cricket is that rare thing: a novel that captures the feel and flavour of professional sport from the inside - the good, the bad and the simply surreal.
Not since J. L. Carr's classic A Season in Sinji has there been a novel that quite captures the spirit of the game.
I have often said that there is no novel that captures first class professional cricket: the village green, yes, club games, yes, but not the real top end stuff. Indeed, I have never been convinced that such a fiction is even do-able. Well, Nathan Leamon's The Test settles the argument. Set during an Ashes decider at Lord's, it rings true from the first to the last ball: the exciting, competitive world, the brutal demands of top class sport, the public face, the extraordinary tensions, the dressing room, the media, the private demons, the lonely, draining battle, the marriages and families, fathers and sons, the group dynamic, the courage, the conflicts within the team every bit as tense as the conflict with the opposition. All that would be impressive enough but the novel also has a deep intellectual and creative hinterland. Nathan Leamon can write, he can really write, in a lean and compelling style, and he has a mind, a high quality mind. You always feel he has more in his locker. This novel is something: it's a first - Jonathan Smith
I enjoyed the novel a great deal . . . I felt that the author conveyed a lot of the atmosphere of a Test dressing room extremely well - Mike Brearley
Nathan has written an outstanding novel. It is thrilling and also a novel of ideas. It is the best cricket novel I have read - Ed Smith, TMS commentator, ex-England cricketer and writ