In a small circle of friends in London, some disturbing occurrences are taking place
Lucas Graffe, a reclusive academic, kills a man in self-defense and disappears immediately after the trial, leaving his brother, the charismatic actor Clement Graffe, tortured by his absence. Their friend Bellamy James rids himself of all ties and possessions, even giving away his beloved dog. Yearning for simplicity and purification, he prepares himself for a monastic life. And outside Clifton, the house where the widowed Louise Anderson lives with her three eccentric daughters, a very peculiar man is watching.
Lucas finally returns, and during his reunion with his brother, they happen to receive a surprising visitor. It soon becomes clear to the Graffes and their friends that there is a complex mission to fulfill, of revenge, but also of transformation. Rich, enthralling, full of humor and suspense, Iris Murdoch’s magnificent novel illuminates the complexities of guilt and innocence, malice and compassion. It is a triumphant work from one of our greatest writers.
'“Ornate, cunning and impressive . . . I was seduced by the story, the largeness of the themes, the richness of the material, sex’n’God’n’poetry’n’love ’n’the unconscious. A Romance in the fullest and most positive sense.” —The Independent “Ms. Murdoch is an admirable artist. Reading her work is like watching an expert needlewoman embroider, with fine silk thread and a dazzling array of stitches, a large, intricate, multicolored piece of fancywork.” —The New York Times “Behind her books one feels a power of intellect quite exceptional in a novelist.” —The Sunday Times “Intense writing and keen depictions of people grappling with afflictions of the soul remind us that Murdoch’s perspective is invaluable.” —Publishers Weekly “This is a superb novel, with great depth of plot and characterization as well as riveting suspense.” —Library Journal “A novel of intelligence and heart, appealing to Murdoch’s audience or to any lover of serious literature.” —Booklist “As to be expected from Murdoch: a bracing journey through ancient mysteries and the dark pathways of the heart. And, as always, a stimulating read.” —Kirkus Reviews “[A] tour de force . . . One puts down this novel with a feeling of having feasted at a table of great ideas.” —Los Angeles Times “This is as enthralling a web as [Murdoch] has ever spun, and its sensuousness, its visionary physical detail, is a pleasure.” —San Francisco Chronicle “Her most emotionally gripping novel yet . . . built around Manichaean juxtapositions of good and evil, love and power, celebration and passion, light and dark.” —The New York Times'