Certain inhabitants of Battle Hill, a small community on the outskirts of London, are preparing to mount a new play by the neighborhood’s most illustrious resident, the writer Peter Stanhope. Each actor struggles with self-absorption, doubt, fear, and sin. But “the Hill” is not like other places. Here the past and present intermingle, ghosts walk among the living, and reality is often clouded by dreams and the dark fantastic. For young Pauline Anstruther, who is caring for an aging grandmother and frightened by the specter of a doppelgänger who gets closer with each visitation, the prospect of heaven exists in the renowned playwright’s willingness to bear the burden of her terror. For eminent historian Lawrence Wentworth, the rejection of his desire pulls him deeper inside himself, leaving him vulnerable to the lure of the succubus and opening wide the entrance to hell.
A brilliant theological thriller, Descent into Hell is an extraordinary fictional meditation on sin and personal salvation by one of the twentieth century’s most original and provocative literary artists. Charles Williams, a member of the Inklings alongside fellow Oxfordians C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, and Owen Barfield, has written a powerful work at once profoundly disturbing and gloriously uplifting, an ingenious amalgam of metaphysics, religious thought, and darkest fantasy.
In a town so small that Main Street is only three blocks long, there isn’t a lot to do—other than work, ogle women, and think about fast ways to get rich. After a year of aimless wandering, Madox has landed here, nearly broke and with no prospects but a dead-end job selling cars to yokels. Until one afternoon a fire at the burger joint draws the attention of everyone in town—including the men who are supposed to be guarding the bank. It’s almost too good to be true, but there it is—$15,000 lying around, watched by no one. Now all Madox needs is a little nerve and a second distraction. And while one woman will give him the nerve, another will make him ready to kill.
The original and most mystical of all playing-card decks, the tarot has seduced seekers of otherworldly knowledge for centuries—and of all its cards, the most potent are the twenty-two symbolic images that comprise the Greater Trumps. By a strange twist of fate, the very first tarot deck, dating back centuries, has come into the possession of Lothair Coningsby, a uniquely unimaginative Englishman. Though he has no intention of relinquishing his treasure, there are others who covet the tarot’s power. Henry Lee, for one—fiancé of Coningsby’s beautiful daughter, Nancy—is driven by an obligation even deeper than his devotion to his beloved. Henry is of Gipsy blood, and the Romany believe that they alone are the true guardians of the mystical tarot. Invited to spend the holidays at the out-of-the-way home of Aaron Lee, Henry’s grandfather, the unsuspecting Coningsbys are blind to the chilling conspiracy taking shape around them. For on this stormy Christmas Day, their hosts are preparing to commit foul murder to gain possession of the coveted occult deck, unleashing devastating primal forces that no human could possibly contain.
The brilliant fiction of Charles Williams, who was a member of the Inklings alongside fellow Oxfordians C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, and Owen Barfield, is considered to be among the most provocative, imaginative, and intelligent explorations of spirituality and the supernatural produced during the twentieth century. The proof lies in his magnificent classic The Greater Trumps, a many-layered tale of hubris and faith that is arguably one of the greatest mystical thrillers of all time.
A remarkable object has fallen into the hands of the abominable scientist Sir Giles Tumulty. Once positioned at the center of the crown of King Solomon, it is a stone of astonishing and terrifying power, capable of good and evil alike. Anyone who touches it can move through time and space, perform miracles, and heal or kill. The stone can replicate itself, and does so during the course of Sir Giles’s inhuman experiments, subsequently falling into numerous unworthy hands throughout England. There are those who will attempt to use the stone for personal gain, only to discover that it is they themselves being used by a power beyond their comprehension; some will find themselves trapped in eternally repeating nightmares from which there is no escape; still others will be freed from their earthly burdens. And so begins the battle between the forces of darkness and light for control of the most dangerous object in existence.
A gripping metaphysical thriller by Charles Williams, who along with C. S. Lewis, Owen Barfield, and J. R. R. Tolkien was one of Oxford’s famed Inklings, Many Dimensions is at once a gripping supernatural adventure and a thought-provoking exploration of the good and evil that dwell in the heart of every human being.
His life in pieces, Harry Goddard buys a thirty-two-foot sloop and sets out to sail the Pacific. He is a thousand miles from anywhere when his craft strikes an unseen object, and begins taking water. For all his desperate efforts, he cannot save her, and Harry is forced into his life raft, to drift without food, water, or shelter from the sun. He is near death when the Leander rescues him. But by the time his trip is over, he’ll wish he’d taken his chances in the open water. A tramp freighter sailing under the Panamanian flag, the Leander is en route to the Philippines when its crew spots Harry and takes him aboard. But as he regains his strength, Harry uncovers a murderous conspiracy that could destroy the ship that saved him.
Even at sixty-six, Gunnar Romstead was a tough old salt. It took several men to bring him down, and even after they’d bound his feet and hands he was still a threat. But finally the man who’d survived waterfront brawls, World War II, and countless stormy nights at sea died on his knees—shot through the back of the head. Looking for answers, his son Eric comes to the barren California town where Gunnar breathed his last. He hardly knew the old man, but he can’t believe his father was killed in a botched drug deal. Somewhere in California is a massive shipment of heroin and a quarter of a million dollars, and if Eric finds them he will uncover the truth. But for a boy who grew up loving his father from afar, the truth may hurt even more than a bullet.
An unidentified body lies lifeless in the offices of a British publishing house. Soon after it is discovered, an urgent request from an author arrives by post, pleading for the deletion of an important paragraph from an upcoming publication. These unlikely incidents mark the beginning of a secret war waged in the English countryside but threatening to engulf all of humankind. On the side of the godly, an archdeacon, an eccentric duke, a book editor, and a young boy must confront the dark magic of relentless satanic forces—for behind the facade of a common pharmacy, sinister plans are being laid for the negation of everything. The most horrible of conspiracies, its success hangs on the acquisition of an object of enormous supernatural power recently discovered in a small parish church: the Holy Grail.
Preceding The Da Vinci Code and the Left Behind novels by half a century, War in Heaven is the first novel written by Charles Williams, an esteemed member of the famed Oxford literary society known as the Inklings, which included such notables as C. S. Lewis, Owen Barfield, and J. R. R. Tolkien. This is a provocative, page-turning tale of faith, morality, and magic—an amalgam of thriller, fantasy, metaphysics, and theology that engages and entertains.
This ebook includes a new introduction by Jonathan Ryan.
Rae and Ingram are nineteen days out of the Panama Canal, sailing slowly across the wide, flat Pacific on the Saracen, when they find Hughie Warriner in his dinghy. He was on a pleasure cruise in his yacht, the Orpheus, he says, when food poisoning killed his passengers and his ship began to sink. After an alleged ten days of desperately fighting to stay afloat he spied the Saracen, and rowed to his salvation. Finding the stranded yacht, against Warriner’s wishes, Ingram boards the stranded Orpheus. There he finds Warriner’s passengers—very much alive, and hungry for revenge against the man who attacked them and left them to drown. Ingram tries to get back to his ship, but is too late. Warriner escapes with his yacht, taking Rae hostage, and Ingram hasno means to save them but tattered sails, a sinking ship, and rage that burns hotter than the merciless Pacific sun.
In the small English town of Smetham on the outskirts of London, a wall separating two worlds has broken down. The meddling and meditations of a local mage, Mr. Berringer, has caused a rift in the barrier between the corporeal and the spiritual, and now all hell has broken loose. Strange creatures are descending on Smethem—terrifying supernatural archetypes wreaking wholesale havoc, destruction, and death. Some residents, like the evil, power-hungry Mr. Foster, welcome the horrific onslaught. Others, like the cool and intellectual Damaris, refuse to accept what her eyes and heart tell her until it is far too late. Only a student named Anthony, emboldened by his unwavering love for Damaris, has the courage to face the horror head on. But if he alone cannot somehow restore balance to the worlds, all of humankind will surely perish in the impending apocalypse.
An extraordinary metaphysical fantasy firmly based in Platonic ideals, The Place of the Lion is a masterful blending of action and thought by arguably the most provocative of the University of Oxford’s renowned Inklings—the society of writers in the 1930s that included such notables as C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, and Owen Barfield. With unparalleled imagination, literary skill, and intelligence, the remarkable Charles Williams has created a truly unique thriller, a tour de force of the fantastic that masterfully engages the mind, heart, and spirit.
During World War II, soon after Ms. Lester Furnival married her beloved Richard, she died in an accident. Now she wanders the dark and lonely streets with her friend Evelyn. An empty mirror image of the London she once knew, the city is a place where time has lost its rules and structure, and where Lester can catch heartbreaking glimpses of the world she left behind.
But all is not well in the realm of the living. The other London has fallen under the sway of the magus Simon Leclerc, a master of black magic and necromancy who would sacrifice the soul of his own daughter in the pursuit of ultimate power. With her widowed husband entangled in the sorcerer’s toxic web along with an enigmatic artist who can paint only the truth, Lester must somehow thwart Leclerc’s malevolent plan if she is to find salvation—for the evil necromancer desires nothing less than total dominion over both worlds.
A ghost story unlike any other, All Hallows’ Eve is the final novel by the remarkable Charles Williams, whose brilliant literary excursions into the spiritual and supernatural realms remain unsurpassed more than six decades after his death. Williams was arguably the most creatively daring and ambitious of Oxford’s famed Inklings, the literary society that included such notables as C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, and Owen Barfield, and his chilling, breathtaking, and deeply felt fiction remains the gold standard for provocative and intelligent contemporary fantasy.
The Eight Immortals, the five elements, the dragon and the phoenix, yin and yang—representations of these important cultural symbols are pervasive in Chinese literature, art and architecture. Without an understanding of their significance, much Chinese history, folklore and culture can't be fully appreciated. In this comprehensive handbook, C.A.S. Williams offers concise explanations—and over 400 illustrations—of these essential symbols and motifs. Arranged alphabetically for easy access, the book not only explains essential cultural symbols, accompanied by their Chinese characters, but also contains many articles on Chinese beliefs, customs, arts and crafts, food, agriculture, and medicine. This book has become a standard reference volume for students of China and Chinese culture.
For those who are visiting China, Chinese Symbolism and Art Motifs is an indispensable guide to the Middle Kingdom's artistic and architectural wonders. For the general reader, it is a valuable compendium of fascinating sinological lore.
Bored, divorced, and unemployed, Chatham is on his way to the Gulf of Mexico when he passes through a small town by the river. It’s a miserable little burg—four stoplights and not much else—and he’s almost escaped it when a drunk’s car darts out in front of him, causing a nasty fender-bender. The thought of three days waiting for his clunker to get fixed is a grim one, but though he doesn’t know it, there won’t be a dull minute. Chatham finds hospitality in the lovely form of Mrs. Langton, motel owner and local pariah. Seven months ago her husband was murdered, and though the police could find no evidence to support the theory, everyone in town is convinced she killed him. Now a string of anonymous threats have left her close to a nervous breakdown, and the violence is about to become real. In a town this small there’s no room for secrets, but plenty of places to bury a corpse.
Educated at the racetrack, Billy has never had a firm grip on his ABCs, but he sure knows how to read a racing form. When a family court judge threatens to put the seven-year-old in a foster home, Billy and his father go to live in the countryside, at the wholesome little farm owned by Billy’s Uncle Sagamore, where the air is pure, the grass is green, and the liquor from his hidden distillery is clear as water—and about 120 proof. But pressure from the law has kept Sagamore’s still silent, and the stash of white lightning is starting to dwindle. To get his home-brewing operation back underway, Sagamore needs a distraction—and there’s none better than local politics. When Uncle Sagamore throws his weight into the Blossom County elections, democracy will never be the same.
There is great unrest on the African continent, and explosive uprisings that originated there are finding their way to Britain’s shores. A man named Nigel Considine, a charismatic leader who calls himself the High Executive, is raising a great army to conquer the world. Universal love is his stated goal, to be achieved through violence if necessary, and his dogma has unleashed a terrible backlash of brutality, prejudice, and hatred throughout so-called civilized London. But who is this immortal prophet-king whose words inflame the passions of untold thousands of disciples? Is he a power-hungry madman, as the unrepentant agnostic Sir Bernard Travers has flatly stated, or is he the Antichrist, as Travers’s dearest friend, the vicar Ian Caithness, believes? Perhaps the deathless Considine is the light of the age—indeed, of all ages: a saintly personage to be adored and followed without qualm or question, as the poet Roger Ingram is beginning to suspect. But be he master criminal or twisted genius, supernatural demon or savior reborn, the High Executive’s coming is destined to change the world.
No twentieth-century author explored themes of faith, spirituality, and the supernatural with more verve and originality than the phenomenal Charles Williams, who along with colleagues C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, and Owen Barfield, was a member of the University of Oxford’s famed Inklings literary society. Blending fantasy adventure with breathtaking spiritual concepts, Williams’s acclaimed works, including Shadows of Ecstasy, are must-reads for any lover of intelligent, thought-provoking metaphysical fiction.
Uniquely among biographers of Don Bradman, Charles Williams sets his subject's cricketing achievements within the context of a crucial period in the history of modern Australia, a time when, as the country felt her way towards something that the world would recognise as 'nationhood', Bradman became a focus for national aspirations, a figure of unique status.
Brilliantly revealing the phenomenon of Bradman's cricketing genius - and the tensions that genius created for the man, his family, team-mates and the game's administrators - Williams' story is as much about Australia as it is a great Australian.
Out of work and dead broke, Lee Scarborough is a long way from his days as a football hero when he meets the sunbathing Diana James—an innocent-looking creature with a plan to make a fortune. A few months’ back, her lover embezzled $120,000 from a bank, but disappeared before she could get her hands on the cash. The police think he’s fled the state, but Diana is sure he’s dead, and knows who killed him: his wife, Madelon Butler, a sadistic drunk who is capable of anything. The cash is inside Madelon’s house, waiting to be stolen a third time, and all Diana needs is a patsy. Scarborough fits the bill. The plan sails along smoothly until Scarborough meets Mrs. Butler. By the time his luck runs out, he’d rather face a dozen hulking linebackers than these two beauties, who have been driven to a frenzy by jealousy, greed, and lust.
Billy doesn’t know how to read a book, but give him a racing form and he can tell you everything about a pony that you’d ever want to know. He and his father live on the road, traveling from Aqueduct to Hialeah and back again, until an overzealous Welfare lady demands they settle somewhere more wholesome than the track. Not knowing anyplace wholesome, Billy’s father takes him to Texas instead, to live on his brother Sagamore’s farm. There Billy meets bootleggers, gangsters, and the beautiful Miss Choo-Choo Caroline, a Chicago stripper who is wearing nothing but a tiny, diamond-encrusted G-string when she disappears. Uncle Sagamore, an enterprising brute, sees this as a chance for profit. For a boy with gambling in his veins, there could be quite a lot to learn.