Bathsheba Everdene is the proud, capricious and handsome heroine of "Far from the Madding Crowd". Thomas Hardy's richly evocative novel opens with the arrival of Bathsheba in the village of Weatherbury to work the large, dilapidated farm that is her inheritance. The plot turns on her sentimental education, her infatuation for Sergeant Troy, a dazzling young cavalry officer, and her relationship with the shepherd-farmer, Gabriel Oak. Gabriel's strong presence permeates a drama of temptation, treachery and passion in which Bathsheba achieves a painful but necessary self-knowledge. Although Hardy's familiar themes of betrayal and the pain of love are present in this novel, it is also one of the warmest, most humorous of Hardy's works. Referred to by Ronald Blythe as 'all morning brightness, inspiration and possibility', it is, understandably, the novel that first earned Hardy his reputation as one of our finest chroniclers of human life and love.