Presenting the story of a fictional character named Logan Mountstuart through a series of diaries, Boyd's lively novel covers a great deal of territory, all of it unforgettable. A writer whose eventful life spans eight decades, starting in 1906, Mountstuart engages in youthful hijinks during prep school, struggles to find himself at Oxford, drinks too much, marries and remarries and fights to maintain his standing as a gentleman in the midst of a declining empire. His extraordinary adventures take him all over Europe, where he serves as a spy for British Naval Intelligence, fights in the Spanish Civil War and hobnobs with a host of historical figures, including Picasso and Hemingway. Mountstuart's remarkable experiences are vividly and believably rendered by Boyd, who has written a book that's clever, witty, broad in scope and very, very British. A reading group guide is available in print and online at www.randomhouse.com/vintage/read.