George Purse is an ex-steelworker employed asa gamekeeper on a ducal country estate. He gathers, hand-rears and treasuresthe birds to be shot at by his wealthy employers. He must ensure that the Dukeand his guests have good hunts when the shooting season comes round on theGlorious Twelfth; he must ensure that the poachers who sneak onto the land insearch of food do not. Season byseason, over the course of a year, George makes his rounds. He is not aromantic hero. He is a labourer, who knows the natural world well and sees it without sentimentality. Rightlyacclaimed as a masterpiece of nature writing as well as a radical statement on work and class, The Gamekeeper was also, like Hines’s A Kestrel for a Knave (Kes),adapted by Hines and filmed by Ken Loach, and it too stands as a hauntingclassic of twentieth-century fiction.