Good and evil clash in gripping, intellectually satisfying ways as Howatch (The Wonder Worker, 1997, etc.) charts the spiritual crises provoked by disturbing revelations and encounters with a sinister `psychic healer` in the City of London, where money is God and work is religion
Revisiting the same terrain she explored in The Wonder Worker, and featuring familiar characters like Nicholas Darrow, Lewis Hall, and Alice Fletcher, Howatch introduces tough-talking Carter Graham, a high-powered City lawyer who thinks she has her whole life planned out—a belief that invites disaster once she marries Kim Betz, another apparently successful high flyer. Carter, whose father's debts led to her family’s eviction and her parents’ divorce, had vowed her life would be different. But as Kim's first wife, Sophie, tries futilely to contact her, Carter learns that Kim has lied and his past was even more wounding than hers. His father was a Nazi, not a Jewish refugee as he told her, and when she meets Kim’s malevolent healer, Mrs. Mayfield, who dabbles in blackmail and the occult, she finds out he has been involved in a murder, plus kinky sex rituals. Convinced now that Sophie is trying to help, Carter heads to Sophie's home, only to discover her dead. Then Carter’s apartment is vandalized and she thinks she sees Sophie's ghost. Frightened of committing suicide, as Mrs. Mayfield suggested she might, Carter flees to the church whose rector is the brother of her handsome personal assistant. Taken to the Healing Center of St. Benet, a skeptical Carter begins a painful search for truth and meaning. Yet before she reaches that moment of saving grace and insight, she must first face both her past and Kim's.
Vivid and absorbing dispatches from one of the best correspondents on the war between darkness and light. Another winner.