English novelist and poet Thomas Hardy was highly critical of much in Victorian society, especially on the declining status of rural people in Britain. Considered a Victorian realist, Hardy examines the social constraints on the lives of those living in Victorian England. Also, Hardy wrote a number of significant war poems that relate to both the Boer Wars and World War I, including "Drummer Hodge", "In Time of 'The Breaking of Nations'", and "The Man He Killed"; his work had a profound influence on other war poets such as Rupert Brooke and Siegfried Sassoon. Many of his novels concern tragic characters struggling against their passions and social circumstances, and they are often set in the semi-fictional region of Wessex. Far from the Madding Crowd is Thomas Hardy's fourth novel. The novel was listed at number 48 on the BBC's survey The Big Read in 2003. The book finished 10th on The Guardian's list of greatest love stories of all time in 2007. Bathsheba Everdene, living in the quiet rural village of Weatherbury is indeed disrupted by the "madding crowd". After shunning the first man to love her, the shepherd Gabriel Oak, she is courted by two others: the lonely and repressed farmer Boldwood, and the charming but faithless Sergeant Troy. Despite the violent ends of several of its major characters, Far from the Madding Crowd is the sunniest and least brooding of Hardy’s great novels. Listen online to free English audiobook "Far from the Madding Crowd” on our website to experience the fourth Thomas Hardy’s novel and his first major literary success.