THE FLAME by Jim Hunter


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Jim Hunter (viz. A Place of Stone-1964) writes rather unfashionably straight-forward novels based on thankless themes, and The Flame is to all intents and purposes almost tractarian. It deals with the attempt of Douglas Cameron, a young man of great moral earnestness and character, to oppose the negative aspects of modern life by becoming the leader of the New Vigour movement, a Christian action group. Sponsored by a newspaper tycoon, Cameron campaigns, recruits and rallies all over England, finds many followers at first captured by the ""glamor of righteousness."" This in contrast to his younger brother, Martin, who has returned from the States with a Negro wife, and does not quite buy the image; or Cameron's own wife who is the victim of his invulnerability and insensitivity. And at the end he fails as perhaps all absolutists do--there is disaffection among his followers, later racist riots, and finally he is shot down. Hunter, a scrupulously intelligent writer, is particularly good when dealing with the depressingly depressed conditions of English life today. He is also a realist and must know that the road which is paved with good intentions is never a primrose path, when it comes to attracting a readership.

Publisher: Pantheon