COCK OF THE WALK by Roy Lewis

COCK OF THE WALK

KIRKUS REVIEW

 A lighthearted historical novel, illustrated by Punch cartoons, that's essentially a gently satirical catalogue of every major character ever heard from in Victorian England. Statesmen and clerics in the country of the Reformation are dismayed when, in 1849, Pope Pius IX issues an edict appointing Monsignor Wiseman, an Englishman, as Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster. Skillfully exploited by the London Times editorials of John Delane, news of the appointment and its ramifications for the Protestant establishment have Prime Minister Lord Russell searching for a way to limit the power, influence, and wealth of the Catholic Church without antagonizing mostly Catholic Ireland. This is the centerpiece around which revolve vignettes of the rich, famous, infamous, and merely gifted of the era--Queen Victoria and her Prince Albert; Benjamin Disraeli, leader in the House of Commons; writers Carlyle and Thackeray; poet Alfred Tennyson; Karl Marx; Florence Nightingale; a clutch of Pre-Raphaelite painters (currently buoyed by Ruskin's support), and a host of others. All this as the Great Crystal Palace is being erected--to boos and bouquets. British journalist Lewis (The Evolution Man, 1993), tells a story that has echoes in contemporary power politics and media hype--and tells it with considerable charm.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-7206-0942-9
Page count: 154pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 1996




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