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Authors: Charles Williams

The Greater Trumps

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PRAISE FOR THE WRITING OF CHARLES WILLIAMS

“One of the most gifted and influential Christian writers England has produced this century.” —
Time

“[Williams has a] profound insight into Good and Evil, into the heights of Heaven and the depths of Hell, which provides both the immediate thrill, and the permanent message of his novels.” —T. S. Eliot

“Reading Charles Williams is an unforgettable experience. It proves that one can write about the weird and fantastic in such a compelling manner as to appeal to any reader of modern novels.” —
The Saturday Review of Literature

“Charles Williams took the form of the thriller and used it to create an extraordinary genre that has sometimes been called ‘spiritual shockers.' His books are immensely worth reading, even if you consider yourself unspiritual and immune to shock.” —Humphrey Carpenter, author of
The Inklings: C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, Charles Williams, and Their Friends

“With a powerful imagination fed by trinitarian and incarnational faith, Charles Williams used fiction to explore how people react when the supernatural enters their lives, and how then to find the path of peace. The fantasy novels that result make a riveting read.” —J. I. Packer, theologian and author of
Knowing God

All Hallows' Eve

“The work of a gifted man and obviously the expression of devoutly held convictions … No stranger novel has crossed my path in years.” —
The New York Times

“A story that makes a real word of supernatural … A tale of horror surpassing even the works of the recognized masters.” —
Chicago Sunday Tribune

“A strange story … poignant beauty such as prose fiction rarely achieves. The final impression is more as if the three books of the
Divine Comedy
had been compressed into one novel.” —
The New York Times Book Review

Many Dimensions

“A great English believer unites the seen with the unseen in a glory and a terror that are unforgettable.” —
New York Herald Tribune

“It is satire, romance, thriller, morality and glimpses of eternity all rolled into one.” —
The New York Times

The Greater Trumps

A Novel

Charles Williams

CONTENTS

1.
THE LEGACY

2.
THE HERMIT

3.
THE SHUFFLING OF THE CARDS

4.
THE CHARIOT

5.
THE IMAGE THAT DID NOT MOVE

6.
THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE FOOL

7.
THE DANCE IN THE WORLD

8.
CHRISTMAS DAY IN THE COUNTRY

9.
SYBIL

10.
NANCY

11.
JOANNA

12.
THE FALLING TOWER

13.
GOING FORTH BY NIGHT

14.
THE MOON OF THE TAROTS

15.
THE WANDERERS IN THE BEGINNING

16. “
SUN, STAND THOU STILL UPON GIDEON

About the Author

1

THE LEGACY

“…
PERFECT BABEL,”
Mr. Coningsby said peevishly, threw himself into a chair, and took up the evening paper.

“But Babel never was perfect, was it?” Nancy said to her brother in a low voice, yet not so low that her father could not hear if he chose. He did not choose, because at the moment he could not think of a sufficiently short sentence. A minute afterwards it occurred to him that he might have said, “Then it's perfect now.” But it didn't matter; Nancy would only have been rude again, and her brother too. Children were. He looked at his sister, who was reading on the other side of the fire. She looked comfortable and interested, so he naturally decided to disturb her.

“And what have you been doing today, Sybil?” he asked, with an insincere goodwill, and as she looked up he thought angrily, “Her skin's getting clearer every day.”

“Why, nothing very much,” Sybil Coningsby said. “I did some shopping, and I made a cake, and went for a walk and changed the library books. And since tea I've been reading.”

“Nice day,” Mr. Coningsby answered, between a question and a sneer, wishing it hadn't been, though he was aware that if it hadn't been … but then it was certain to have been. Sybil always seemed to have nice days. He looked at his paper again. “I see the Government is putting a fresh duty on dried fruits,” he snorted.

Sybil tried to say something and failed. She was getting stupid, she thought, or (more probably) lazy. There ought to be something to say about the Government putting a duty on dried fruits. Nancy spoke instead.

“You're slow, auntie,” she said. “The correct answer is, ‘I suppose that means that the price will go up!' The reply to that is, ‘Everything goes up under this accursed Government!'”

“Will you please let me do my own talking, Nancy?” her father snapped at her.

“Then I wish you'd talk something livelier than the Dead March in
Saul
,” Nancy said.

“You're out of date again, Nancy,” jeered her brother. “Nobody plays that old thing nowadays.”

“Go to hell!” said Nancy.

Mr. Coningsby immediately stood up. “Nancy, you shall not use such language in this house,” he called out.

“Oh, very well,” Nancy said, walked to the window, opened it, put her head out, and said to the world, but (it annoyed her to feel) in a more subdued voice, “Go to hell.” She pulled in her head and shut the window. “There, father,” she said, “that wasn't in the house.”

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