Item description for War in Heaven, A Novel by Charles Williams...
Overview A search for the Holy Grail serves as an allegory for a metaphysical journey through the human mind
Publishers Description Williams gives a contemporary setting to the traditional story of the Search for the Holy Grail. Examining the distinction between magic and religion, "War in Heaven" is an eerily disturbing book, one that graphically portrays a metaphysical journey through the shadowy crevices of the human mind.
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Studio: Wm. B. Eerdmans Pub. Co.
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 7.64" Width: 5.32" Height: 0.57" Weight: 0.55 lbs.
Release Date Jun 1, 1981
Publisher Wm. B. Eerdmans Pub. Co.
ISBN 0802812198 ISBN13 9780802812193
Availability 0 units.
More About Charles Williams
CHARLES WILLIAMS (Lord Williams of Elvel) is Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the British House of Lords. Before embarking on his political career, he spent four years in Paris from 1966 to 1970, the last period of de Gaulle's government.
Charles Williams was born in 1886 and died in 1945.
Reviews - What do customers think about War in Heaven, A Novel?
Worth Reading. May 17, 2006
Like several previous reviewers, I read this book because of Charles Williams's connection with C.S Lewis and Tolkein. This book has not achieved the lasting fame and adulation of Lewis's Space Trilogy or The Lord of the Rings, and for good reasons. The plot is almost amateurish, and Williams simply could not write as well as Lewis or Tolkien.
BUT, Willims had gifts of another sort. Williams was able to write about spiritual experience in ways that Dan Brown (or pick some other thriller of-the-day writer) could never hope to equal. War In Heaven will challenge the reader to sweat through long stretches of unremarkable prose, that could easily have come from yesterdays advertisements, but perseverence will be rewarded with sweet draughts of unforgettable holiness.
The privilege of reading Chapter X titled The Second Attempt on the Graal, made up for all the book's low points. The internal reaction of Mornington and the Duke to the Graal, and the description of the united effort at prayer to resist the unholy assault on the Graal, represent one of the clearest articulations of faith as the "substance of things to be hoped for" that I have ever yet encountered . In the end, passages like this are the only reason I read fiction at all. Its the reason why War in Heaven must be read.
A little too complicated for my taste... May 16, 2006
But perhaps it is because I am not a great mystery fan, or the classics. [I mean, did the question, "Heautontimoroumentos?" really make immediate sense to anyone else?]
In any case, I found by keeping a score card so that I could track all the players, and parsing several passages in order to figure out the nuances of the author's syntax, I could plug on into the last few chapters which, though possibly the most surreal, were, IMO, the most accessible.
I would recommend looking for a copy to borrow before buying if you were, like myself, considering reading it because of Williams' ties to the Inklings.
A battle between heaven and hell over the Holy Graal Dec 30, 2005
This is the first book I have read by Charles Williams, and if it is indicative of what the rest of his books are like, I think I shall be a fan of his. In War in Heaven, Williams depicts a struggle between the forces of evil (which call upon the powers of Hell), and the forces of good (which call upon the power of God), over the Holy Graal, which has turned up in contemporary England (or at least it was contemporary when Williams wrote it). In the course of the struggle, each side draws upon the power of their master, Gregory Persimmons upon Hell and the Arch-Bishop upon God through prayer. It is a very good story, and it reminded me greatly of C. S. Lewis' Interplanetary series, especially That Hideous Strength. Williams wrote this first, so I wonder if this book shaped the one that Lewis wrote. I know that they read each others works, so I find it hard to believe that the fact that they are so similar is a mere coincidence.
A few of Williams theological views were a bit questionable. For example, at one point he attributes evil to God, and claims that God wills evil. Near the very end of the book, it is also said that the church is one path among many to God. He seems to be advocating pluralism, but it was kind of vague, and possibly could have been saying that one can be saved without being a part of the visible church.
In conclusion, this is a very good book which I would recommend to those who like philosophical fiction. If you like the modern kind of mindless reading, where you don't really need to think, you will probably not like this book, for this book makes you think. It raises philosophical questions which it does not necessarily answer, so if you do not like being troubled of mind, this is probably not the story for you. A few previous reviewers have also implied that it is a frightening story, but I do not think you need be wary of reading this if you do not like reading of occult and the such, for there are no demons, only black magic, and I did not find them particularly scary at all. Personally, I think that a few scenes of Ransom and the devil in Perelandra were far more frightening that anything in this book.
Williams's graal tale trumps "The Da Vinci Code" Jul 17, 2005
It gives essentially none of the story away to reveal that the plot of "War in Heaven" revolves around the Graal (per Williams's preferred spelling). Williams's first published novel is full of the blurring of reality that one finds in all of his fiction and, like "The da Vinci Code", involves a struggle between opposing groups drawn into conflict by the Graal. However, unlike "The da Vinci Code"'s ersatz, vapid spirituality--which, where it has flavor at all tastes merely of cheap sideshow spiritualism--"War in Heaven" depicts allies of darkness that are rank with evil even as its friends of light savor of ultimate goodness. In "War in Heaven" one gets a glimpse beyond the veil to see ultimate spiritual reality consisting of powers and principalities swarming in defiance of a holy throne even as the King of Light engages all according to his overarching plan and by his undeniable power. By contrast, in "The da Vinci Code" one finds that the ultimate reality beyond the veil is tantamount to a group of 7 year-olds playing with a Ouija board at a slumber party. So, if you're looking for a "spiritual thriller" of substance that involves the Holy Grail, "War in Heaven" trumps (perhaps greatly trumps?) "The da Vinci Code." 5 stars. An excellent book.
Definitely in the same league as the rest of the Inklings Jul 28, 2004
Williams' ability to craft a great story nearly escapes the reader because his style is so subtle, and the narrative flows so seamlessly. It is also brilliantly and creatively imagined. He weaves the deft mystery style of Chesterton and Doyle with his own religious background and spiritual experiences. Were it written today, this story might be mistakenly tossed into the same bland, agenda-driven genre of evangelical "spiritual" thrillers, but Williams avoids such a trap by giving his spiritual hero, the Archdeacon of Fardles, a sometimes wavering confidence in his chosen path, and a battle with his own desire to give up. While the book is certainly not one for those who feel immediately alienated by religious context and setting, it does not require or expect conversion or spiritual agreement in order to be enjoyed. Williams is the forgotten member of the Inklings (C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and others), but his writing, especially War In Heaven, stands toe-to-toe with the other great works to emerge from that group.