SHADOWS OF ECSTASY by Charles Williams


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And still another posthumous offering from Mr. Williams -- in which he continues to fluctuate between that which is ether and that which is real. The real setting is once again London and its environs -- plus an interest in Africa. The coterie consists of Sir Bernard Travers, an authority on the belly and the father of Phillip -- a conventional son who is in love with petulant and tiring Rosamond Muchison. Her sister is Isabel Ingram, who is married to Roger, poetry-quoting Professor of Applied Literature. Others include the ""High Executor"" Nigel Considine (Sir Bernard recognized he must be over 100 years old -- it turns out he is well over 200) who is, among other things, Antichrist, and who is looking for a way to conquer death, either by living forever or by dying and living again; the African king, Zulu, under Considine's power and upsetting Rosamond's balance of power by attracting her; Ian Caithness, a priest, who represents the deity; the Prime Minister, and more and more. Considine, thinking himself the ""Deathless One"", wishes to have Africa free of England so that he may control his schools there and let his theory of ecstasy flourish, but London is besieged, the furies are let loose, men kill themselves in the hope of living again. Death is all over the place at the end. In spite of the seeming excitement of the philosophy of ecstasy and some of the events, things here are generally pretty dry -- and the characters flat. For Williams' followers solely.

ISBN: 1573831093
Publisher: Pellegrini & Cudahy