"A SKILLFUL BLEND OF CHARACTER, PHILOSOPHY AND NARRATIVE. . .Formidable personalities embroil themselves in ruthless power struggles that would make a corporate raider blush." –The Washington Post Book World It is 1965, and Charles Ashworth has attained the plum position of bishop of Starbridge, an honor that keeps him in a heady whirl of activity that would exhaust the most seasoned corporate executive. With the invaluable support of his minions and his attractive, unsinkable wife, Ashworth stands against the amorality and decadence of the age–"Anti-Sex Ashworth." He slays his opponents by being a tough, efficient, confident churchman, the torments of his past long since dead and buried. And then the unexpected, the unthinkable, strikes. Suddenly Ashworth finds himself staring into the chasm of all the lies hes been telling himself for years: about his marriage, his children, even his views on the Church. And as he suspects his old nemesis and dean, Neville Aysgarth, of drinking too much, of financial chicanery, of–God forbid–having an affair, Ashworth discovers to his horror that he is tempted to commit the very acts that he has so publicly denounced. . . . "ENTHRALLING. . .Rich, dense, almost indecently entertaining." –San Jose Mercury News "POWERFUL. . .MIRACULOUS." –Booklist (starred review) SELECTED BY THE BOOK-OF-THE-MONTH CLUB
“No writing today can equal [Susan] Howatch’s ability to write compelling novels that combine theology and psychology in a complex, fast-moving plot offering beautifully delineated characters and the suspense of a mystery/thriller. . . . The denouement will leave readers breathless.”—Publishers Weekly
Nicholas Darrow is a strong-willed and independent-minded man, full of the energy and assurance of his age and his moment in time—he is twenty-five in 1968. A magnet for attention and attraction, Nicholas is already beset by a troubled past, and expert at ignoring the grip it has on his life. But as he follows his father into the Anglican priesthood, his fascination with his own psychic powers results near-tragedy. It will only be by facing the truth about his relationship with his father that Nicholas can find his way out of the seemingly impenetrable darkness that engulfs him. . . .
Told with all the drama, intelligence, and emotional depth we have come to expect from Susan Howatch, Mystical Paths is a breathtaking novel about the powerful, often painful, but finally indestructible ties between parent and child. And like its four highly praised predecessors in the Church of England series, it is a novel that celebrates the redeeming power of self-knowledge and faith.
“Intelligent, compelling, and fascinating.”—The Cleveland Plain Dealer
The Washington Post Book World has proclaimed that “Susan Howatch may well become the Anthony Trollope of the twentieth century.” Now, in Scandalous Risks, Howatch returns us to the English town of Starbridge, home to a great medieval cathedral and the religious, political, and sexual intrigues that whirl around it. It is into this charged atmosphere—in the already overheated 1960s—that a young woman searching for meaning in her life, and an older man prominent in the Church, begin moving inexorably toward emotional collision.
As Venetia Flaxton edges closer to the threshold of a love affair with Neville Aysgarth, who is Dean of the Cathedral and old enough to be her father, his hidden emotional past and her moral conflict in the present lead them deeper and deeper into the mysteries of the human heart and soul. Here is a powerful and moving novel of good and evil, resolve and temptation, hope and despair.
Praise for Scandalous Risks
“Wonderful.”—The Cleveland Plain Dealer
“Howatch is at her best when dealing with conflict, bringing a passion and tension to her portarit of people facing moral dilemmas.”—The Washington Post
“Keep[s] one turning the pages.”—The New York Times Book Review
The third in Susan Howatch’s Church of England novels, Ultimate Prizes begins in 1942 with the world at war, as narrator and archdeacon Nevill Aysgarth finds himself falling into a hopeless obsession over Dido Tallent, beautiful celebrity, and finds himself pursuing her through a swamp of guilt and the destruction of his valued moral compass. . . .
Praise for Ultimate Prizes
“I did not want to put the book down. . . . [Howatch] is a skilled storyteller who makes the reader wonder and care about her people.”—The Washington Post Book World
“Thoughtful and thought-provoking . . . Almost every newspaper carries an article or two on the scandalous private life of a public figure. . . . Ultimate Prizes offers a look at both the sacred and profane aspects of religious life as it is lived on the front lines—the story just behind the front page.”—Chicago Tribune
“Howatch writes thrillers of the heart and mind. . . . Everything in a Howatch novel cuts close to the bone and is of vital concern. . . . You’ll want to have tea with this wise, witty woman.”—New Woman
“Vibrant . . . The author of Glittering Images and Glamorous Powers scores a hat trick with this third novel in her series set amidst the ‘cut-and-thrust battles’ and ‘sheer Machiavellian skulduggery’ of the Church of England.”—Kirkus Reviews
The time is 1940. Jonathan Darrow is an Anglican priest when he receives a shattering vision and knows he must leave the monastery that has been his home for seventeen years. As he plunges into the temptations of the real world, a crisis sends him into the labyrinth of his past to pluck out the buried truth beneath the deceptions he has been living through.
“Mesmerizing . . . holds the reader riveted.”—The Washington Post
“Intriguing and wholly involving . . . Darrow is a willful, proud, manipulative man, struggling to subdue his tempestuous character. . . . The resulting crisis—in which Darrow finally faces the necessary process of uncovering deeply buried pain—underlines Ms. Howatch’s concern with the continual play of light and dark in the human spirit.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Gripping . . . You’ll be quite transported. You’ll also discover one of the most original novelists writing today.”—Cosmopolitan
“Howatch is skillful at plot development and deftly handles [her] subject. . . . Her grasp of psychic experiences and the inner struggle between the urge to do spiritual good and the temptation to exert control make for an engrossing read.”—New York Daily News
“Wise, witty . . . Holds the reader spellbound.”—Publishers Weekly
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The first in Susan Howatch’s acclaimed novels centering on the glorious Cathedral of Starbridge, Glittering Images is a masterful depiction of spiritual hubris, the seductions of power, and the moral dilemmas of England between the wars.
“Passionately eloquent . . . [A] tale of God, sex, love, self-analysis and forgiveness . . . The dialogue throughout this book is brilliantly crisp.”—The Philadelphia Inquirer
It is the 1930s, and Charles Ashworth is dispatched by the Archbishop of Canterbury to learn the truth about the flamboyant Bishop of Starbridge, Adam Alexander Jardine, and his mousy wife. Do Jardine’s outspoken denouncements of the Anglican Church’s strict divorce laws have a personal motive? When he meets the cool and beautiful Lyle Christie, Mrs. Jardine’s companion, Ashworth believes they do. But as he struggles to understand the strange relationships in the household, Ashworth ceases to be an innocent, objective observer. Slowly, he too is drawn into the secret drama that is being played out in the shadow of the cathedral, a drama that he could never have foreseen.
Praise for Glittering Images
“A terrific story . . . Glittering Images is driven by passion, emotional and spiritual, and its spiritual antagonists are brilliant characters.”—San Jose Mercury News
“She may well be the Anthony Trollope of the 20th century.”—Andrew Greeley, The Washington Post