Lucifer Before Sunrise

Hardback, Macdonald, first edition, 1967.

Book condition: good, with dust wrapper.
Price: £17.50


Volume 14 in the 15-volume A Chronicle of Ancient Sunlight series.


The publisher's blurb for the first edition (1967) states: 'This is a novel of the 2nd World War as it affected the life of Phillip Maddison, an artist compelled against his nature to be a man of action. It begins in the grim winter of 1940/41, and ends soon after the uneasy "sunrise" of peace in 1945. Phillip is a man in conflict with himself, scarred by his experiences in the earlier holocaust of 1914-18, who laments the division and possible total ruin of Europe and strives idealistically to hold a balance, notwithstanding the prejudice and unpopularity this inevitably provokes. Throughout these five years he has to cope with the day to day problems of running the farm he has wrested from the virtual wilderness in East Anglia.


'No contemporary writer can surpass Henry Williamson in evoking period and scene, especially where the English countryside is concerned, and Lucifer Before Sunrise recreates, with an authenticity familiar to Williamson's readers, the pattern of everyday living in these years: the bomber-haunted nights, the reactions of simple people, the petty profiteering and black-market operations, the mischief-making gossip – all a part of the war time scene but so often forgotten or ignored by the historians.


'Lucifer Before Sunrise is the fourteenth novel in the cycle A Chronicle of Ancient Sunlight, of which George D. Painter said in The Aylesford Review: "In my belief . . . the whole cycle will ultimately be recognised as the great historical novel of our time."'


(For a further consideration of the book and the background to the writing of it, see Anne Williamson's Lucifer Before Sunrise.)