The Golden Virgin

Paperback, Pocket Classics series, Alan Sutton, 1996.

Book condition: a fine copy, unread and as new.
Price: £10.00


Volume 6 in the 15-volume A Chronicle of Ancient Sunlight series.


The publisher's blurb for the first edition (1957) states: 'This fine novel of the first "war to end wars" deals with a situation in the life of Phillip Maddison, youthful veteran of the battle of Ypres, and of Loos, which is infinitely moving and, to the man of today, infinitely strange. For the last time a war was being waged that turned whole countries into infernos of mud, terror, and attacks which withered upon uncut barbed wire; while across the narrow waters of the English channel life went on as before, with an ever-widening gulf between those at home and those who returned.


'For Phillip, not yet twenty-one and conscious that life might at any moment end before it had really begun, it is a time of self-searching. Grasping at the shadow of love with the idealism of youth, he dreams, among the many girls whose attractions are momentary, of the unattainable girl of his boyhood.


'In the shadow of the battlefields once more he is uncertain of his courage but finds inspiration in the Golden Virgin of Albert Cathedral, all but shattered by German shells, yet offering to Phillip and many like him the symbol of a life that would be upright, noble and fundamentally simple in its beliefs.


'The Golden Virgin, rich in narrative and characterisation, meticulously and beautifully observed, is a major achievement on the part of an author of whose last book A Fox Under My Cloak Mr John Connell wrote in the London Evening News: "It is compassionate, proud and thoughtful; and like any good work of art, it is both of its time and beyond time."'


(For a further consideration of the book and the background to the writing of it, see Anne Williamson's The Golden Virgin.)