The Power of the Dead

Paperback, Pocket Classics series, Alan Sutton, 1999.

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


Volume 11 in the 15-volume A Chronicle of Ancient Sunlight series.


The publisher's blurb for the first edition (1963) states: 'Twelve hundred acres of downland and valley with a trout stream await an heir, and Sir Hilary Maddison, K.B.E., who has bought back the estate squandered by his father (as he believes) wants his only nephew Phillip to learn farming the hard way, beginning as a labourer, and so to qualify eventually for estate-management and a tenancy-for-life. But Phillip has other ideas. He is possessed by the power of the dead in a way different from that of his sailor uncle, who is used to commanding men and to being obeyed.


'Both the marriages of uncle and nephew have been tragic. Hilary is almost the unlovable man; Phillip cannot forget the early death of his child wife, nor his friends who died in the war. Which is it to be – a career of compulsive writing, to bring back the past: or concentrate on the healthy and natural life of the land? Phillip is dutiful; he tries to combine both worlds; but in one or the other he is bound to fail. And literary success only intensifies the dilemma.


'The story is largely set north of Cranborne Chase, in the rolling downland country of beech hanger and crystal waters of spring-fed trout streams. Other events take place in London, the period being the late 'twenties of the present century.'


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