06/06/2001

Absolute Truths (by Susan Howatch)

The first time I read Susan Howatch's Starbridge series of six books about Church of England clergy in the 20th century, I found it thought-provoking, exciting, moving, and very cleverly written. I could hardly bear to read the final book in the series, Absolute Truths, but when I did I thought it a perfect final book. It cleared up many ends, answered many questions, and gave a lot of hope for the future.

Re-reading the entire series recently, I wondered if I would like 'Absolute Truths' as much, since I knew what was coming.

I did.

It's a brilliant final novel in the Starbridge series.

It's told from the point of view of Charles Ashworth, who narrated the first book (Glittering Images) when he was a young man. In this story, however, he's much older, and is now an eminent Bishop in Starbridge.

Things start to go wrong for Charles, and events move rapidly towards a crisis point before he begins to find the way forward again.

I thought this novel was very cleverly plotted, drawing together threads from all the other books in the series, but still complete in itself. It feels like a real ending, too. Once again, I had no sense of anti-climax, or that the author had cheated. It was wonderful. Highly recommended.

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