When Nicholas Darrow follows his father into the Anglican priesthood in 1968 at the age of twenty-five, he is fleeing a troubled past. But when his fascination with his own psychic powers results in a near-tragedy, Nicholas must face the truth about his relationship with his father before he can find his way out of the seemingly impenetrable darkness that engulfs him.
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Susan Howatch was born in Surrey. After getting a degree in law, she emigrated to America, where she married, had a daughter, and embarked on a career as a writer. When she eventually left the United States, she lived in the Republic of Ireland for four years before returning to England. She spent time in Salisbury—which was the inspiration for her Starbridge sequence of novels—and now lives in London.From Kirkus Reviews:
The air is thick with incense and mysteries (both secular and non) in this fifth smashing novel in Howatch's High Church series (Spontaneous Risks, 1990, etc.). Whoever would have thought that she could turn 20th-century theology into bestsellerdom? But she's done it again, this time reminding us that she's a mistress of the generational novel as well--because, here, the sons of heroes (actually, psychically wounded antiheroes, scrambling back to God) from former volumes step up to, well, the altar. It doesn't take 25-year-old Nick Darrow long to get into deep spiritual trouble here; after all, he's not only psychically touched (like his 88-year-old father, Jon, from Glamorous Powers) but young, cocky, impatient, sexually hyperactive--and, to make matters worse, it's 1968. On the eve of Nick's ordination, a debutante friend convinces him to look into the death of Christian Aysgarth, a brilliant Oxford don who died suddenly in a boating accident, leaving behind a wife agonized with guilt because she thinks it was suicide. So, Nick to the rescue, with a botched exorcism and not-so-botched seduction of the grieving widow. Such occurrences, along with Nick's double life as a Casanova among working girls, make him dimly aware that his personality is frayed, but he can't open up to his saintly father for fear that the beloved old guy will die of horror. Nick plunges on, then, eventually getting so obsessed with the Aysgarth affair that he believes himself possessed by the dead man. That's when Father Lewis Hall shows up in his groovy white VW to take Nick by the hand and lead him to the light. Along the way back, Christian's death is resolved in a spiffy little climax that includes an attempted murder, an exorcism conducted--quite successfully this time--by Nick, and a spiritual healing between Nick and his father. If only spiritual guides showed up like fairy godmothers in real life! Howatch even brings psychological and theological meaning to Nick's salvation. A sure-fire hit. -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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Book Description Fawcett Crest (Ballantine), 1993. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0006472710