"I remember reading Ancestral Vices for the first time, on a train. And did I laugh? I howled, I wept, I was a helpless, quivering jelly for minutes at a time. The other passengers probably assumed I was having a fit or seizure.
In terms of plotline and characterisation, it is typical of Sharpe: the English class system is torn apart like tissue paper in a vicious social satire; the male characters are unsympathetic pedantics and deviants; women are often hideous gorgons. Yet there are two qualities that also come out in a Sharpe novel - a quaint love of the fault-ridden society with its appalling mores, iniquities and moral dilemmas, and a darker subtext presenting the evils of meddling with that society.
Like few other writers I know, Tom Sharpe has an unerring eye for the ridiculous, and a rapier wit to exploit a farce to its most extreme potential. Some people might call it juvenile, schoolboy humour (including Sharpe himself), but that undersells his skill as a writer." Andy Millward