War in Heaven, A Novel Paperback – January 1, 2004
The Amazon Book Review
Book recommendations, author interviews, editors' picks, and more. Read it now.
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Customers who bought this item also bought
From the Back Cover
- Item Weight : 8.8 ounces
- Paperback : 256 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0802812198
- ISBN-13 : 978-0802812193
- Product Dimensions : 6 x 0.62 x 9 inches
- Publisher : Wm. B. Eerdmans Pub. Co.; Revised ed. Edition (January 1, 2004)
- Language: : English
Best Sellers Rank:
#957,309 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #29,495 in Christian Literature & Fiction
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
So opens this intensely English novel that is at once both thrilling and significant. This novel was my first introduction to Charles Williams, a member of the Inklings; may there be many more encounters with his work in future! To describe this as the publisher does - "[a] contemporary religious novel […] filled with suspense, mystery, and supernatural conflict" - is accurate, but make no mistake; this work could never be sold in supermarket racks. For one thing, its "contemporary" nature makes it firmly "period" today, which is perfectly fine for many readers, but not for some. For another, it is unabashedly mystical and intellectual, with entire paragraphs that an editor seeking bestsellers would gag over and frequent strings of untranslated Latin. Finally, it deals in sections of society that the mass public has no time for (the Anglican church, the world of publishing, aristocracy, gentleman-collectors). These are not in any sense flaws, only characteristics. If you adore the educated prose and staunch moral world of M. R. James, you will similarly delight in Williams; Williams is very much James's successor in the fantastic genre of "Christian supernatural fiction".
This book excels most in the difficult matter of creating an atmosphere that is suspenseful and unsettling without crossing over into the gratuitous, crudely crafted, or just plain silly (unpleasant literary territories that modern supernatural fiction seems largely unable to avoid). The main antagonists Gregory, Manasseh, and Dmitri are chilling portrayals of occultist evil, and their counterparts on the side of righteousness the Archdeacon, Kenneth, and the Duke are valiant, though each flawed in their own way. The enigmatic figure of Prester John is handled deftly as well. A host of supporting characters round out the drama and provide comic relief and side plots in the cosmic struggle surrounding a dented old cup in the obscure parish of Castra Parvulorum (Fardles).
William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, which prints many works of specialist taste, has done well with their edition. The design is spare but appropriate, the back material is well composed, and the front cover succeeds in its aims. This book comes without introduction, textual notes, or other secondary material, but it does not require them.
Despite qualifying as a "novel of suspense", War in Heaven is not light reading, and, like the Eucharist that is continually referenced in William's novel, will not be appreciated by all who come to it. Nonetheless, it is offered for all, and its savour is rich and rewarding.
Top reviews from other countries
This was a much darker sort of book than anything by C.S. Lewis, and surely Williams did influence him in his writings (and, to be fair, vice versa), and contains a great deal to ponder. The creeping sense of evil, the sinister but totally plausible "baddies", made for a very engrossing read. Worth bearing in mind that some of the attitudes and opinions are very much of their time, and were the author writing it today, I am sure there would be a different tone to some things. But this is a minor criticism.
My only gripe is why are these books so expensive? They are difficult to get, but nearly £8 to download a book 50 years old is a bit pricey. Fortunately worth every penny spent.