The Book of Fame

Publisher: Vintage Canada
A glorious novel from the award-winning author of Mister Pip, now available as a trade paperback original from Vintage Canada.

The Book of Fame is a lyrical semi-fictional account of the 1905 All Black rugby tour of Europe - a tour that shaped New Zealand's identity, from which the players returned to find themselves accorded almost god-like status. This remarkable, award-winning novel is both a tribute to some of the world's first sporting celebrities and an investigation into the curious workings of fame.

Not just a book for lovers of sport, The Book of Fame is essentially a story about friendship and loyalty, and about a group of astonishing young men at the peak of their abilities.


There were twenty-seven in our party. Besides George Dixon, our
manager, and Jimmy Duncan, coach—
Billy Stead was a bootmaker
Bob Deans, a farmer
Bunny Abbott, a farrier and professional runner
Dave Gallaher, a meatworks foreman
Billy ‘Carbine’ Wallace, a foundryman
Jimmy Hunter...
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"The Book of Fame captures the physical presence of the players and their epic journey with an almost Homeric resonance.... A brilliant read."
-The Age

"A remarkable work.... [This is] a story about more than just rugby. It's about greatness, about once-in-a-lifetime camaraderie, about knowing you are part of something special."
-The Sun Herald

"Jones ... interweaves myth and imagination with historical fact, and gems from contemporary reports with fragments of poetry."
-Financial Times

"The Book of Fame belongs to the category of whimsical sporting chronicle pioneered by WE Bowman's The Ascent of Rumdoodle and JL Carr's How Steeple Sinderby Wanderers Won the FA Cup. It is cunningly written and deviously constructed, with ... genuinely poignant moments."
-The Independent

"The reader hears the crunch of frost, the delight as players flirt with barmaids. The sense of honour and joy they must have felt as they brought rugby to a new and sublime level.... It cuts to the truth of the game in a way endless match reports and profiles rife with cliches never will."
-The New Zealand Herald