Besieged Fortress

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Title: Besieged Fortress
Author(s): A. J. Hall
Date(s): 2005 - 2006
Length: 31,712 words
Genre: sequel
Fandom: Mary Renault
External Links: Act I, Ch. 1-4, 5-6, 7; Act II, Ch. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, epilogue, or whole work at AO3 [1]

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"Besieged Fortress" is a novella by A. J. Hall based on Mary Renault's 1953 novel The Charioteer. It is set seven years after the end of the novel. Laurie and Ralph are living together in Gibraltar; but post-War attitudes are hardening.


With Ralph hoping for a ship and Laurie's writing career stalled, their relationship is already under stress when Alec arrives from London, having lost his job when an anonymous letter outed him as gay. Laurie fears his own career is in jeopardy after he punches his publisher's obnoxious nephew, and decides it would be prudent to visit London before the man reports a twisted version of what happened. However, sorting out his agent, his publisher, and his writer's block seems simple when Laurie unexpectedly runs into Andrew after so many years.


Most of Act I was originally posted by the author to a LiveJournal account that has since been deleted. In 2006, noorie reposted it to the maryrenault LiveJournal community with the author's permission.

In 2012 the author reposted it in its entirety to the AO3 [1]


The story was received many favourable comments, including the following:

  • "I'm really enjoying this story. I loved the book of The Charioteer, and to me this feels very true to the original, in the best sense of that phrase :) Not an imitation, but an understanding." — comment by wychwood
  • "Oh, WOW. Sure and arresting and completely steeped in the period. You're in your stride here; I can't wait to see what happens next." — comment by shezan
  • "Lovely to come home from a day spent with dusty documents (and a particularly annoying fine red dust it is, that gets everywhere) and settle down with a glass of wine and this to read." — comment by coughingbear
  • "THis is turning into such a complex and arresting story. I was curious if you knew when you started it that it would be longer than a few chapters? Far be it from me to object!" — comment by geoviki
  • "I can't tell you how much I enjoyed this. I waited until it was finished to start reading it, because I knew I wouldn't be able to wait once I'd begun, and I was right.
    Gorgeous dialogue, and the pace moved fairly swiftly, which is one of the things I liked about the book, as well. Very nice sense of period, too - not that I know anything about post-War Europe, but the setting felt very real. And of course Ralph and Laurie were wonderful."
    — comment by bellona3


  1. This information comes from a note at the top of the first section of reposted material (accessed 10 August 2011).