Bryan Frink's Reviews > War in Heaven

War in Heaven by Charles Williams
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's review
Jun 26, 2011

really liked it
Read from June 11 to 20, 2011

In some ways similar to "The Exorcist," Williams' "War in Heaven" crosses genre, being both a horror book and a theological speculation. It doesn't have the driving force of "The Exorcist," but its roots are the same: a Manichean Christianity in which good guys and bad guys war over the souls of the undecided.

The book is quite personal, focusing the battle upon a small group of English men and women, along with one child, who are drawn together by the re-emergence of the Holy Grail--or "Graal," as Williams preferred. But this is no King Arthur tale. The Graal, having been the serving vessel at the Last Supper, is a power object: a focus of spiritual forces that may be used for good or evil. The evil, as in most of these books, is somehow more interesting than the good... but that was probably Williams' intent. If power for power's sake were not intriguing, who would bother?

The character of the country clergyman interested me thoroughly-- a bit of the calm Sage which has entered Western literature via Eastern thought. He was a very believable hero -- though, once again, no shining armor.

Though I share almost none of Mr. Williams' theological views, I very much enjoy his storytelling. The book may be 70+ years old, but human nature has changed very little in those years.
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