THE KEEPER by Audrey Laski


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Another freewheeling tale from this British author (Venus in Transit-1965) and ill winds blow when a rather effete young man chooses to live among a seventeenth century-based religious sect in Wales. Limp Colin, a failure in the pursuits to which his Ph.D. directed him, takes on a project for his Uncle Ralph, a Lord who owns a parcel of coast land where a fanatic cult is firmly established. Uncle Ralph would clear out the brethren and build a profitable resort colony. Colin is to clear the way by searching out the vulnerable chinks in the wall-of isolation and suspicion. Not only Bible-bound, the people are ruled by the Keeper, a seventy-year-old patriarch whose directives are set forth in the Books, a collection of laws. Although suffering some anxious moments Colin eventually is accepted. As pressure from Uncle Ralph grows, and his affection for the people, and distress at their oppressive code, develops, Colin is forced to take the only conceivable action -- overthrow (and consequently death) of the Keeper. As new Keeper, Colin emerges a full-blown leader to guide the colony into the twentieth century, gains his self respect, and -- a mixed blessing -- acquires a male lover (the adoring son of the old Keeper). A loony tale, ripe for horror or hilarious humor, but, sadly, Miss Laski never really unleashes her inclinations in either direction.

Pub Date: Oct. 15th, 1968
Publisher: Norton