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In post-Blitz London, humanity's last hope of defeating a powerful magician's insidious plans lies with a ghost trapped in a surreal city of the dead During World War II, soon after Ms. Lester Furnival married her beloved Richard, she died in an accident. Now she wanders the dark and lonely streets with her friend Evelyn. An empty mirror image of the London she once knew, the city is a place where time has lost its rules and structure, and where Lester can catch heartbreaking glimpses of the world she left behind. But all is not well in the realm of the living. The other London has fallen under the sway of the magus Simon Leclerc, a master of black magic and necromancy who would sacrifice the soul of his own daughter in the pursuit of ultimate power. With her widowed husband entangled in the sorcerer's toxic web along with an enigmatic artist who can paint only the truth, Lester must somehow thwart Leclerc's malevolent plan if she is to find salvation--for the evil necromancer desires nothing less than total dominion over both worlds. A ghost story unlike any other, All Hallows' Eve is the final novel by the remarkable Charles Williams, whose brilliant literary excursions into the spiritual and supernatural realms remain unsurpassed more than six decades after his death. Williams was arguably the most creatively daring and ambitious of Oxford's famed Inklings, the literary society that included such notables as C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, and Owen Barfield, and his chilling, breathtaking, and deeply felt fiction remains the gold standard for provocative and intelligent contemporary fantasy.
A charismatic and immortal leader rises up out of Africa to violently alter humankind's destiny There is great unrest on the African continent, and explosive uprisings that originated there are finding their way to Britain's shores. A man named Nigel Considine, a charismatic leader who calls himself the High Executive, is raising a great army to conquer the world. Universal love is his stated goal, to be achieved through violence if necessary, and his dogma has unleashed a terrible backlash of brutality, prejudice, and hatred throughout so-called civilized London. But who is this immortal prophet-king whose words inflame the passions of untold thousands of disciples? Is he a power-hungry madman, as the unrepentant agnostic Sir Bernard Travers has flatly stated, or is he the Antichrist, as Travers's dearest friend, the vicar Ian Caithness, believes? Perhaps the deathless Considine is the light of the age--indeed, of all ages: a saintly personage to be adored and followed without qualm or question, as the poet Roger Ingram is beginning to suspect. But be he master criminal or twisted genius, supernatural demon or savior reborn, the High Executive's coming is destined to change the world. No twentieth-century author explored themes of faith, spirituality, and the supernatural with more verve and originality than the phenomenal Charles Williams, who along with colleagues C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, and Owen Barfield, was a member of the University of Oxford's famed Inklings literary society. Blending fantasy adventure with breathtaking spiritual concepts, Williams's acclaimed works, including Shadows of Ecstasy, are must-reads for any lover of intelligent, thought-provoking metaphysical fiction.
One man must save the human race from total destruction when a small British village is invaded by a terrifying host of archetypal creatures released from the spiritual world In the small English town of Smetham on the outskirts of London, a wall separating two worlds has broken down. The meddling and meditations of a local mage, Mr. Berringer, has caused a rift in the barrier between the corporeal and the spiritual, and now all hell has broken loose. Strange creatures are descending on Smethem--terrifying supernatural archetypes wreaking wholesale havoc, destruction, and death. Some residents, like the evil, power-hungry Mr. Foster, welcome the horrific onslaught. Others, like the cool and intellectual Damaris, refuse to accept what her eyes and heart tell her until it is far too late. Only a student named Anthony, emboldened by his unwavering love for Damaris, has the courage to face the horror head on. But if he alone cannot somehow restore balance to the worlds, all of humankind will surely perish in the impending apocalypse. An extraordinary metaphysical fantasy firmly based in Platonic ideals, The Place of the Lion is a masterful blending of action and thought by arguably the most provocative of the University of Oxford's renowned Inklings--the society of writers in the 1930s that included such notables as C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, and Owen Barfield. With unparalleled imagination, literary skill, and intelligence, the remarkable Charles Williams has created a truly unique thriller, a tour de force of the fantastic that masterfully engages the mind, heart, and spirit.
The discovery of an ancient holy relic in an English country church ignites the ultimate battle of good and evil in this deeply thoughtful metaphysical thriller An unidentified body lies lifeless in the offices of a British publishing house. Soon after it is discovered, an urgent request from an author arrives by post, pleading for the deletion of an important paragraph from an upcoming publication. These unlikely incidents mark the beginning of a secret war waged in the English countryside but threatening to engulf all of humankind. On the side of the godly, an archdeacon, an eccentric duke, a book editor, and a young boy must confront the dark magic of relentless satanic forces--for behind the facade of a common pharmacy, sinister plans are being laid for the negation of everything. The most horrible of conspiracies, its success hangs on the acquisition of an object of enormous supernatural power recently discovered in a small parish church: the Holy Grail. Preceding The Da Vinci Code and the Left Behind novels by half a century, War in Heaven is the first novel written by Charles Williams, an esteemed member of the famed Oxford literary society known as the Inklings, which included such notables as C. S. Lewis, Owen Barfield, and J. R. R. Tolkien. This is a provocative, page-turning tale of faith, morality, and magic--an amalgam of thriller, fantasy, metaphysics, and theology that engages and entertains. This ebook includes a new introduction by Jonathan Ryan.
An ancient stone possessing awesome and terrifying powers wreaks havoc in this intelligent and provocative literary excursion into the supernatural A remarkable object has fallen into the hands of the abominable scientist Sir Giles Tumulty. Once positioned at the center of the crown of King Solomon, it is a stone of astonishing and terrifying power, capable of good and evil alike. Anyone who touches it can move through time and space, perform miracles, and heal or kill. The stone can replicate itself, and does so during the course of Sir Giles's inhuman experiments, subsequently falling into numerous unworthy hands throughout England. There are those who will attempt to use the stone for personal gain, only to discover that it is they themselves being used by a power beyond their comprehension; some will find themselves trapped in eternally repeating nightmares from which there is no escape; still others will be freed from their earthly burdens. And so begins the battle between the forces of darkness and light for control of the most dangerous object in existence. A gripping metaphysical thriller by Charles Williams, who along with C. S. Lewis, Owen Barfield, and J. R. R. Tolkien was one of Oxford's famed Inklings, Many Dimensions is at once a gripping supernatural adventure and a thought-provoking exploration of the good and evil that dwell in the heart of every human being.
In this provocative, classic metaphysical thriller, a group of suburban amateur actors plagued by personal demons and terrors explore the pathways to heaven and hell Certain inhabitants of Battle Hill, a small community on the outskirts of London, are preparing to mount a new play by the neighborhood's most illustrious resident, the writer Peter Stanhope. Each actor struggles with self-absorption, doubt, fear, and sin. But "the Hill" is not like other places. Here the past and present intermingle, ghosts walk among the living, and reality is often clouded by dreams and the dark fantastic. For young Pauline Anstruther, who is caring for an aging grandmother and frightened by the specter of a doppelgänger who gets closer with each visitation, the prospect of heaven exists in the renowned playwright's willingness to bear the burden of her terror. For eminent historian Lawrence Wentworth, the rejection of his desire pulls him deeper inside himself, leaving him vulnerable to the lure of the succubus and opening wide the entrance to hell. A brilliant theological thriller, Descent into Hell is an extraordinary fictional meditation on sin and personal salvation by one of the twentieth century's most original and provocative literary artists. Charles Williams, a member of the Inklings alongside fellow Oxfordians C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, and Owen Barfield, has written a powerful work at once profoundly disturbing and gloriously uplifting, an ingenious amalgam of metaphysics, religious thought, and darkest fantasy.
In this classic tale of spirituality, morality, and the occult, a dark plot to murder an unsuspecting Englishman who possesses the world's rarest tarot deck unleashes uncontrollable elemental forces The original and most mystical of all playing-card decks, the tarot has seduced seekers of otherworldly knowledge for centuries--and of all its cards, the most potent are the twenty-two symbolic images that comprise the Greater Trumps. By a strange twist of fate, the very first tarot deck, dating back centuries, has come into the possession of Lothair Coningsby, a uniquely unimaginative Englishman. Though he has no intention of relinquishing his treasure, there are others who covet the tarot's power. Henry Lee, for one--fiancé of Coningsby's beautiful daughter, Nancy--is driven by an obligation even deeper than his devotion to his beloved. Henry is of Gipsy blood, and the Romany believe that they alone are the true guardians of the mystical tarot. Invited to spend the holidays at the out-of-the-way home of Aaron Lee, Henry's grandfather, the unsuspecting Coningsbys are blind to the chilling conspiracy taking shape around them. For on this stormy Christmas Day, their hosts are preparing to commit foul murder to gain possession of the coveted occult deck, unleashing devastating primal forces that no human could possibly contain. The brilliant fiction of Charles Williams, who was a member of the Inklings alongside fellow Oxfordians C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, and Owen Barfield, is considered to be among the most provocative, imaginative, and intelligent explorations of spirituality and the supernatural produced during the twentieth century. The proof lies in his magnificent classic The Greater Trumps, a many-layered tale of hubris and faith that is arguably one of the greatest mystical thrillers of all time.
In this thoughtful meditation on the future of humanity, colonists on Mars struggle to prevent their own extinction Doomed by overpopulation, irreversible environmental degradation, and never-ending war, Earth has become a fetid swamp. For many, Mars represents humankind's last hope. In six tightly clustered towers on the red planet's surface, the colonists who have escaped their dying home world are attempting to make a new life unencumbered by the corrupting influences of politics, art, and religion. Unable ever to return, these pioneers have chosen an unalterable path that winds through a landscape as terrible as it is beautiful, often forcing them to compromise their beliefs--and sometimes their humanity--in order to survive. But the gravest threat to the future is not the settlement's total dependence on foodstuffs sent from a distant and increasingly uncaring Earth, or the events that occur in the aftermath of the miraculous discovery of native life on Mars--it is the fact that in the ten years since colonization began, every new human baby has been born dead, or so tragically deformed that death comes within hours. The great Brian W. Aldiss has delivered a dark and provocative yet ultimately hopeful magnum opus rich in imagination and bold ideas. A novel of philosophy as much as science fiction, Finches of Mars is an exploration of intellectual history, evolution, technology, and the future by one of speculative fiction's undisputed masters.
An honest and stark account of life on the battlefield during the Six-Day War When the historic Six-Day War breaks out in June 1967, Yaël Dayan finds herself on the front lines in the Sinai desert, fighting for her country. Dayan, a journalist, an author, and the daughter of the renowned Israeli general Moshe Dayan, a key military leader in Israel's War of Independence two decades earlier, offers a female soldier's unique perspective and observations on life during active combat. Dayan's wartime journal entries chronicle her time spent in the desert campaign under the command of the legendary Arik Sharon, the battle against Egyptian forces, and the indelible effect these experiences had on her as both a soldier and a woman. As the author so aptly remarks in her diary, "Nothing will be the same now. I have looked at cessation of life, destruction of matter, sorrow of destroyers, agony of the victorious, and it had to leave a mark." With raw truth and intensity, these snapshots capture the hardships of battle, the mournfulness of loss, and the harshness of war.
A life of one of Israel's greatest heroes, as seen through his daughter's eyes Moshe Dayan was one of the greatest military leaders in Israel's short history. A child of the first kibbutz movement in British Palestine, he went on to lead Israel to victory in the 1948 War of Independence and to liberate Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War. Dayan was not only a soldier but a politician, an archaeologist, and a larger-than-life figure who helped shape the state of Israel. In My Father, His Daughter, Yaël Dayan, who herself served in the Israeli Parliament, shares an uncensored look into her father's life and her own conflicted relationship with him. With poignancy and candor, Dayan creates a profound yet nuanced profile of her father. She relates his strong national pride, his boldness in dealing with other world leaders, and his troubles at home to his disintegrating marriage and multiple affairs. As revealing as My Father, His Daughter is of the man behind the myth, it is also a snapshot of a loving relationship between Yaël and Moshe Dayan, and of a daughter's admiration and respect for a complicated but loving father.
A father is forced to choose between two sons, a decision that haunts the family decades later Haim Kalinsky lies in an Israeli hospital, terminal lung cancer about to cut his life short. Across the street stands his son Daniel, unable to visit his dying father because of an excruciating decision Haim made during the Second World War. When the Nazis marched into Warsaw, Haim awaited the inevitable. After his wife was deported, the German soldiers returned, sending Haim and his two sons, Daniel and Shmuel, to one of the extermination camps. It was there that Haim was confronted with the unanswerable question by one of the camp guards as they disembarked from the trains: Which son will you choose to live? With only a moment to decide, Haim instinctively pulled Shmuel to him, condemning Daniel to die. Decades later, it is Daniel who has survived the brutality of the camps and Shmuel who has perished. Strangers to each other, Daniel faces tremendous internal conflict as he struggles to reconnect with his father in his dying days. In this haunting and powerful tale of a broken father-son relationship, we come to identify with Daniel's long and tortuous journey back to his father.
An Israeli couple's emotional struggle in the early days of the Yom Kippur War Amalia and Daniel find their lives thrown into utter chaos when the Yom Kippur War breaks out in October 1973. Amalia volunteers in the burn ward of a military hospital, where she witnesses the carnage firsthand. A badly injured, unidentified solider captures her attention, and she fights to keep him alive as her husband, an undercover intelligence officer, pursues his own mission on the front lines in the Egyptian campaign. The juxtaposition of Amalia's life as a civilian doing her best to contribute to the war effort with her husband's dangerous search for an intelligence operative behind enemy lines illustrates both the mundaneness and the menace of war. In this somber, touching, and reflective novel, Yaël Dayan compellingly depicts the strength and survival of one couple's marital bond under the most harrowing and heartbreaking of circumstances.
Inspired by the author's own experience, a novel of one female soldier's fight to maintain her independence while serving in the Israeli army Ariel Ron is the spoiled yet fiercely proud daughter of a renowned Israeli colonel, entering the army for her two-year period of compulsory military service. Rebellious and self-centered, she is determined to keep her independence within this highly structured system. Ariel expects that being the colonel's daughter will win her favors in the army--but she is sorely mistaken. As she comes to terms with this reality, she embarks on a journey that forces her to look inward and reflect on her own values and connection to her homeland. Based on Yaël Dayan's own experience in the Israeli army and partly written when she was not yet twenty, this searing and honest first novel is a rare look at a young woman struggling to find her true self in a strange and uncomfortable environment.
Three vintage tales reveal how a former crusader became literature's greatest mystery-solving monk"Brother Cadfael sprang to life suddenly and unexpectedly when he was already approaching sixty, mature, experienced, fully armed and seventeen years tonsured." So writes Ellis Peters in her introduction to A Rare Benedictine--three vintage tales of intrigue and treachery featuring the monastic sleuth who has become the best-loved ecclesiastical detective since Father Brown. Although Cadfael has appeared in twenty novel-length chronicles, the story of his entry into the monastery at Shrewsbury has been known hitherto only to a few readers. Now his myriad fans can discover the chain of events that led him into the Benedictine Order.
To save his estranged son, Brother Cadfael risks breaking his monastic vowsFor Brother Cadfael in the autumn of his life, the mild November of our Lord's year 1145 may bring a bitter--and deadly--harvest. England is torn between supporters of the Empress Maud and those of her cousin Stephen. The civil strife is about to jeopardize not only Cadfael's life, but his hopes of Heaven. While Cadfael has sometimes bent the abbey's rules, he has never broken his monastic vows--until now. Word has come to Shrewsbury of a treacherous act that has left thirty of Maud's knights imprisoned. All have been ransomed except Cadfael's secret son, Olivier de Bretagne. Conceived in Cadfael's soldiering youth and unaware of his father's identity, Olivier will die if he is not freed. Like never before, Cadfael must boldly defy the abbot. The good brother forsakes the order to follow his heart--but what he finds will challenge his soul.
Two groups seek refuge from the rain at Brother Cadfael's abbey, bringing with them mystery and mayhemIn the chill, rainy autumn of 1144, two groups of visitors seek the hospitality of the Abbey of St. Peter and St. Paul, and Brother Cadfael fears trouble has come in with them. Among the first arrivals is Brother Tutilo, a young Benedictine with a guileless face and--to Brother Cadfael's shrewd eyes--a mischievous intelligence. The second group, a ribald French troubadour, his servant, and a girl with the voice of an angel, seems to Brother Cadfael a catalyst for disaster. All of Cadfael's fears become manifest as rising floodwaters endanger the abbey's most sacred relic, the remains of Saint Winifred. When the bones disappear and a dead body is found, Brother Cadfael knows carnal and spiritual intrigues are afoot. Now, in a world that believes in signs and miracles, Brother Cadfael needs his prayers answered--as well as some heavenly guidance to crucial clues--to catch a killer hell-bent on murder.
With one civil war on hold, Brother Cadfael returns home, only to stumble into another bloody conflictIn the summer of 1144, a strange calm has settled over England. The armies of King Stephen and the Empress Maud, the two royal cousins contending for the throne, have temporarily exhausted each other. On the whole, Brother Cadfael considers peace a blessing. Still, a little excitement never comes amiss to a former soldier, and Cadfael is delighted to accompany a friend on a mission of diplomacy to his native Wales. But shortly after their arrival, the two monks are caught up in another royal feud. The Welsh prince Owain Gwynedd has banished his brother Cadwaladr, accusing him of the treacherous murder of an ally. The reckless Cadwaladr has retaliated by landing an army of Danish mercenaries, poised to invade Wales. As the two armies teeter on the brink of bloody civil war, Cadfael is captured by the Danes and must navigate the brotherly quarrel that threatens to plunge an entire kingdom into chaos.
The gifting of a field to the Benedictine abbey goes from generous to ghastly when plows turn up a hastily buried bodyWhen a newly plowed field recently given to the Benedictine Abbey of Saint Peter and Saint Paul yields the body of a young woman, Brother Cadfael is quickly thrown into a delicate situation. The field was once owned by a local potter named Ruald, who had abandoned his beautiful wife, Generys, to take monastic vows. Generys was said to have gone away with a lover, but now it seems as if she had been murdered. With the arrival at the abbey of young Sulien Blount, a novice fleeing homeward from the civil war raging in East Anglia, the mysteries surrounding the corpse start to multiply.
Charges of heresy and murder are complicated by the contents of a mysterious treasure chestIn the summer of 1143, William of Lythwood arrives at the Benedictine Abbey of St. Peter and St. Paul, but it is not a joyous occasion--he's come back from his pilgrimage in a coffin. William's body is accompanied by his young attendant Elave, whose mission is to secure a burial place for his master on the abbey grounds, despite William's having once been reprimanded for heretical views. An already difficult task is complicated when Elave drunkenly expresses his own heretical opinions, and capital charges are filed. When a violent death follows, Sheriff Hugh Beringar taps his friend Brother Cadfael for help. The mystery that unfolds grows deeper thanks to a mysterious and marvelous treasure chest in Elave's care.
When a monk survives a tragic injury, he enlists Brother Cadfael to help him right the wrongs revealed in his deathbed confessionWinter arrived early in 1142, bringing with it a heavy snowfall. The safety of the guest-hall roof at the Benedictine Abbey of St. Peter and St. Paul comes into jeopardy, and the brothers are called upon to effect repairs. But the icy and treacherous conditions are to prove near fatal for Brother Haluin. He slips from the roof and crashes to the ground, sustaining terrible injuries--grave enough for him to want to make his deathbed confession. The confession is heard by the abbot and Brother Cadfael; a wicked story, of trespasses hard for God or man to forgive. But Haluin does not die. On his recovery, he determines to make a journey of expiation, with Cadfael as his sole companion. It is an arduous journey, physically and emotionally, and one that leads to some shocking discoveries.
Brother Cadfael's pastoral life is upended by the disappearance of a young boy and the arrival of a saintly hermit The year is 1142, and England is in the grip of civil war. Within the cloisters of the Benedictine Abbey of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, there begins a chain of events no less momentous than the upheavals of the outside world. It starts with the sad demise of Richard Ludel, Lord of Eyton, whose ten-year-old son and heir, also named Richard, is a pupil at the abbey. The boy refuses to surrender his newly inherited powers to Dionysia, his furious, formidable grandmother. A stranger to the region is the hermit Cuthred, who enjoys the protection of Lady Dionysia, and whose young companion, Hyacinth, befriends Richard. Despite his reputation for holiness, Cuthred's arrival heralds a series of mishaps for the monks. When a corpse is found in Eyton forest, Brother Cadfael must devote his knowledge of human nature to tracking down a ruthless murderer.
A young widow's gain could be the abbey's loss if Brother Cadfael can't unravel a thorny case of murderA late spring in 1142 brings dismay to the Abbey of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, for there may be no roses by June 22. On that day the young widow Perle must receive one white rose as rent for the house she has given to benefit the abbey, or the contract is void. When nature finally complies, a pious monk is sent to pay the rent--and is found murdered beside the hacked rosebush. The abbey's wise herbalist, Brother Cadfael, follows the trail of bloodied petals. He knows the lovely widow's dowry is far greater with her house included, and she will likely wed again. Before Cadfael can ponder if a greedy suitor has done this dreadful deed, another crime is committed. Now the good monk must thread his way through a tangle more tortuous than the widow's thorny bushes.
When a harsh priest is drowned, Brother Cadfael discovers a long list of suspects, including a young man who isn't who he claims to beIn a mild December in the year of our Lord 1141, a new priest comes to the parishioners of the Foregate outside the Abbey of Saint Peter and Saint Paul. Father Ailnoth brings with him a housekeeper and her nephew--and a disposition that invites murder. Brother Cadfael quickly sees that father Ailnoth is a harsh man who, striding along in his black cassock, looks like a doomsaying raven. The housekeeper's nephew, Benet, is quite different--a smiling lad, a hard worker in Cadfael's herb garden, but, as Brother Cadfael soon discovers, an impostor. And when Ailnoth is found drowned, suspicion falls on Benet, though many in the Foregate had cause to want this priest dead. Now Brother Cadfael is gathering clues along with his medicinals to treat a case of unholy passions, tragic politics, and perhaps divine intervention.
Two monks seeking refuge bring with them a troubling mystery that will test Brother Cadfael's beliefsIn the year of our Lord 1141, August comes in golden as a lion, and two monks ride into the Benedictine Abbey of Saint Peter and Saint Paul bringing with them disturbing news of war--and a mystery. The strangers tell how the strife between the Empress Maud and King Stephen has destroyed the town of Winchester and their priory. Now Brother Humilis, who is handsome, gaunt, and very ill, and Brother Fidelis, youthful, comely--and totally mute--must seek refuge at Shrewsbury. From the moment he meets them, Brother Cadfael senses something deeper than common vows binds these two good brothers. What the link is he can only guess. What it will lead to is beyond his imagining. As Brother Humilis's health fails--and nothing can stop death's lengthening shade--Brother Cadfael faces a poignant test of his discretion and his beliefs as he unravels a secret so great it can destroy a life, a future, and a holy order.
Amid a flood of pilgrims seeking solace in a saintly celebration, Brother Cadfael seeks the killer of a dear friendIn the year of our Lord 1141, civil war over England's throne leaves a legacy of violence--and the murder of a knight dear to Brother Cadfael. And with gentle bud-strewn May, a flood of pilgrims comes to the celebration of Saint Winifred at the Abbey of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, carrying with it many strange souls--and perhaps the knight's killer. Brother Cadfael's shrewd eyes see all: the prosperous merchant who rings false, an angelic lame boy, his beautiful dowerless sister, and two wealthy penitents. In the name of justice Cadfael decides to uncover the strange and twisted tale that accompanies these travelers. Instead he unearths a quest for vengeance, witnesses a miracle, and finds himself on a razor's edge between death and the absolution of love.
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