The Gale of the World

Hardback, Macdonald, first edition, 1969.

Book condition: ex-library copy, otherwise good, lacking dust wrapper.
Price: £12.00


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


The publisher's blurb for the first edition (1969) states: 'Henry Williamson's great panorama of English life, A Chronicle of Ancient Sunlight, has been widely praised and admired since the publication of the first novel, The Dark Lantern, in 1951.


'With the publication of The Gale of the World, the fifteenth and final novel in the sequence, Henry Williamson has completed the history of Phillip Maddison in a way that can only add to the stature of the work as a whole. He has long been recognized for his masterly studies of nature and the countryside but it must be remembered that he is a writer of supreme honesty and sensitivity who has portrayed the swiftly changing face of English society over the last fifty years with immense clarity and insight.


'The Gale of the World is set in the year immediately following the Second World War. Phillip Maddison is living apart from his wife, Lucy, and has sold his Norfolk farm and handed over the proceeds in trust for the family, excluding himself. Living alone on Exmoor in what he describes as his "shepherd's cot", he is haunted by the past. His pro-German views bring him under constant fear of attack but this is relieved by his love affair with Laura, one of the most romantic women characters Henry Williamson has created.


'In a story that is very rich in incident, the death of Phillip's father and his quarrel with his sister over the will, as well as his tender relationship with his cousin's two daughters, are particularly outstanding but there are numerous other incidents that are skilfully interwoven to form a vivid tapestry of the modern world. The ending is dramatically violent – as if nature herself were expressing the angers and frustrations felt by Phillip Maddison throughout his life.'