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The Greater Trumps Paperback – April 1, 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Regent College Publishing (April 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1573831115
  • ISBN-13: 978-1573831116
  • Product Dimensions: 0.7 x 6.1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #244,651 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Charles Williams—novelist, poet, critic, dramatist and biographer—died in his native England in May, 1945. He had a lively and devoted following there and achieved a considerable reputation as a lecturer on the faculty of Oxford University. T. S. Eliot, Dorothy Sayers and C. S. Lewis were among his distinguished friends and literary sponsors. He was also a member of the Inklings, a group of Christian writers that included J.R.R. Tolkien, author of The Lord of the Rings.

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

66 of 67 people found the following review helpful By Nigel Jackson on August 30, 2004
Format: Paperback
Over the years I have read and re-read this 1932 novel by Charles Williams many times - it continues to fascinate me, exerts a peculiar hold upon my mind and provides unfailing stimulus for thought and contemplation (it is undoubtedly the most readable and entertaining of his works of fiction). 'The Greater Trumps' is a very strange sort of novel, a mystical thriller if you like, featuring the prototypal deck of Tarot cards which has by odd chance fallen into the hands of the prosaic and unimaginative Mr.Coninsgby. His daughter Nancy is being wooed by a young lawyer of Gypsy descent, Henry Lee and when he sees the deck the spiritual drama begins and the Coningsby's are invited to spend Christmas at the lonely house of Henry Lee's grandfather Aaron Lee who guards the secret inheritance of the Romanies and has long sought the innermost mysteries of the Tarot. A conspiracy to ruthlessly obtain the Tarots at all costs is afoot and here we have a central theme of Charles Williams' novels - the intended profaning of a sacred Mystery by those who would abuse it for ego-aggrandizement and the quest for personal power. In 'The Greater Trumps' the classic tarot figure of 'The Falling Tower' is the symbol of the fate which invariably engulfs those who attempt to lay hold of the Holy Mysteries of Magic to satisfy the all-too-egoic thirst for power and ascendancy and this timeless message is as pertinent as ever in an age where debased occultism of questionable motivation is all too prevalent.Read more ›
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By XanthicSky on February 6, 2007
Format: Paperback
This excerpt is taken from:

"Charles WIlliams - Poet Of Theology" pp. 76-78

by Glen Cavaliero

Just as heat is the pervading element in "The Place of the Lion", so the pervading element of "The Greater Trumps is cold". Much of the action takes place in an isolated country house during a raging snowstorm on Christmas Day, a microscopic drama dominated almost to breaking-point by its central symbol, the Tarot pack, most ancient and mysterious of playing cards. Williams draws on his knowledge of the Kaballa for his account of them, and, as with the Grail and the Stone, uses them as a symbol of the creative power of God. He relates them to a group of magical golden figures, similar to those portrayed on the greater trumps, figures whose perpetual motion corresponds to the ever-lasting dance which is the rhythm and pattern of the universe. When the original cards and the images are brought together, the fortunes of the world can be read, for the relation between them constitutes the true knowledge of reality.

The fortuitous reassembling of cards and images provides the mainspring of the plot. The figures are hidden in the house of Aaron Lee, latest of a long line of gipsy guardians, now 'civilized'. His grandson, Henry, finds the cards in the possession of Mr Lothair Coningsby (a Warden in lunacy - both his name and occupation are pleasing but superfluous jokes), whose daughter Nancy he is engaged to marry. Through her, by using the spiritual energy of their mutual love, he plans to possess and rule the cards - the blasphemy against love degrading him to the level of the false magicians of the earlier books. The cards have magical properties controlling the four elements.
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 7, 1999
Format: Paperback
It takes but a short time to realize that we are in an era when 'daily work' is not true for a large number of people of substance. Yet there are other things to fill their time. An estate shall be settled soon by the inclusion of a number of sets of antique tarot cards - something that a number of the protaginists have never heard of - others wonder if their 'gypsy feelings' towards same are no longer proper in their situation; and a father of one, who they shall visit, feels quite certain that the Original Deck MUST be among these. If so, how can it go to the museum, only to be catalogued and placed in some drawer. To me, there is a warm engulfing into the story - there is a feeling of tension and hope as certain characters begin, by recognizing more and more of all the symbols and interrelations that these make up, in quite a spiritual way, the Dance of Life and our/their place within. Their sharing is real. I freely say now that I have not totally finished this book. This is a special author. My copy is a first edition {1950}. The Saturday Review stated "Reading Charles Williams is an unforgettable experience." The NY Times stated "It is satire, rommance, thriller, morality, and glimpses of eternity all rolled into one." Whew.
I gave this book a four because it does take a little 'work' to get in to. I feel clearly that Mr Williams was a deeply spiritual man. This book's language is to the reader as though we are entering the late 19th century - a different place for us to be going to. But, quite worth the effort. Thank you for your time. Enjoy.
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