Deftly combining the sacred and the profane—the unmistakable hallmark of her fiction over the past decade—Susan Howatch gives us a spellbinding, suspenseful and psychologically intense new novel.
The financial heart of London—the City—is an adrenaline-charged square mile deep in recession in the 1990s, a place where sex is just another commodity to be bought and sold in the marketplace. And the City is where the life of Gavin Blake, who sells sex to high flyers, is finally about to unravel. In the center of the City is St. Benet’s, a church that ministers to the casualties of this affluent but amoral society. Carta Graham, the St. Benet’s fundraiser, is at once attracted to Gavin when they meet through a mutual friend, but slowly she realizes that she has entered a relationship far more complex than she could ever have imagined.
Gavin is desperate to escape from his world of prostitution, pornography and violence, but as his involvement with Carta and St. Benet’s deepens, the dangers that encircle him escalate until his life itself is on the line. Carta is determined to help him—but will their mysterious journey together be lifesaving or soul-destroying? All she can do is fight her hardest to help Gavin survive.
Consistently surprising and powerfully moving, The Heartbreaker is Susan Howatch’s most gripping novel yet.
“A gripping two-pronged tale of psychological terror and spiritual redemption.”—The New York Post
Successful London lawyer Carter Graham has power, sex appeal, and a well-ordered life. Everything has gone according to plan, including her recent marriage to Kim Betz, an investment banker with the right combination of looks and position. On the surface it appears to be a match made in heaven. The only problem is Kim’s ex-wife. Sophie begins to follow Carter like a shadow, making outrageous claims about Kim’s involvement in the occult.
Convincing herself that Sophie is mad, Carter moves ahead with her life. But something is amiss–and as Sophie’s stories are corroborated by other unwelcome disclosures from Kim’s past, Carter is thrown into a terrifying web of suspicion and betrayal, pushing her sanity to the edge. In desperation, Carter seeks help from Nicholas Darrow, the charismatic priest of St. Benet’s Healing Center. Though a religious skeptic, Carter hopes to stem the tide of darkness that threatens to envelop her life–and begins a compelling journey into the very nature of good and evil, wisdom and redemption. . . .
Young, lonely, and insecure, Alice Fletcher is on the verge of emotional collapse when she stumbles into St. Benet’s Church to dodge the London drizzle. There, she witnesses a group of gifted healers led by the charismatic Nicholas Darrow. Gaining refuge at last, Alice is drawn–inexorably, seductively–into the complex network of relationships at St. Benet’s healing center–as she falls immediately, dangerously, in love with Darrow himself.
Yet Darrow and his cutting-edge clergy are not all what they seem. And while Nicholas’s dazzling powers now threaten to ruin all he attempts to save–including his own disturbed marriage–Alice’s devotion to him deepens. Then a devastating tragedy transports her to the shocking center of truth. Yet fueled by her love for Nicholas and a boldly emerging intuition, she will hold together the lives spinning wildly out of control–as she herself is transformed forever.