As Thomas Howard notes, Williams's tales might best be described as "metaphysical thrillers," in which Williams used occult "machinery" in much the same way that Conrad used exotic locales and Joyce used the subconscious: to vivify human experience and awaken readers to its range and possibilities. One tale might feature a chase for the Holy Grail across Hertfordshire fields, while in another "the picture may switch with no apology at all from a policeman at a crossroad to the Byzantine Emperor." As Howard lucidly demonstrates, the controlling factor behind Williams's work is an essentially Christian worldview in which "heaven and hell seem to lurk under every bush" and the constant theme is order versus disintegration.
Concentrating on Williams's novels, Howard brilliantly illuminates the major concerns that informed all of Williams's thinking. Howard also considers Williams's work in the context of modern fictional practice and assesses its place in the tradition of the English language novel.
"Howard understands the Cloud of Glory through which Williams's works must be seen better than anyone else I know. The wonderful light of paradox and parable is unfolded to us through Thomas Howard's works and he, as he says of Williams, leaves us 'chastened, sobered, even transfigured.' "
— Madeleine L'Engle