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The penultimate novel in the Strangers and Brothers series takes Goya's theme of monsters that appear in our sleep. The sleep of reason here is embodied in the ghastly murders of children that involve torture and sadism.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9781842324318
ISBN-10: 1842324314
Format: Paperback
(205mm x 135mm x 29mm)
Pages: 452
Imprint: House of Stratus
Publisher: House of Stratus
Publish Date: 2-Oct-2000
Country of Publication: United Kingdom


US Kirkus Review » This latest Snow is more of a dying fall than a storm. It contemplates the passing of time, the slippage of power, the assertion of a new generation and the painful vagaries of human nature. It reminds one in a sense of the novels of the late J. P. Marquand, with its uneasy, middle-aged awareness that the individual stamp has disappearing ink. Although a good section of the novel has to do with the trial of two young women for a horrible crime, a prototype of the marsh murders in England, this is essentially a novel of fathers and sons, parents and children. While Sir Lewis observes with some excitement and occasional misgivings the restless metamorphosis of his young son Charles toward adulthood, he also sadly accepts the waning egos and deaths of his own father and his wife's father. There are the not overly graceful retirements or withdrawals of friends and colleagues, a parade of failing eminences. And there is his own frightening partial loss of sight. As the artifacts of passing time seem to pile up and focus, the concerns of the world seem to simplify and somehow the cabal of the young cannot see the signposts or have no use for them. The trial of the child-murderers (in which Sir Lewis is involved as the boyhood friend of an uncle of one) points up the ultimate concern for which there is really so little time to influence - the nature of individual responsibility in an increasingly complicated world. "Put reason to sleep and all the stronger forces were let loose... and that... meant a chance of hell." Snow's approach is as massively ceremonious as ever. Each character is introduced by an organ chord of commentary: thoughts are as long as life; characters from other books are prodded into being. But there is a certain dogged majesty in this far exit as Snow lumbers down the halls of power. (Kirkus Reviews)

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Author Biography - C. P. Snow

C.P. Snow was born in Leicester, on 15 October 1905. He was educated from age 11 at Alderman Newton's School for boys where he excelled in most subjects, enjoying a reputation for an astounding memory. In 1923, he gained an external scholarship in science at London University, whilst working as a laboratory assistant at Newton's to gain the necessary practical experience, because Leicester University, as it was to become, had no chemistry or physics departments at that time. Having achieved a first class degree, followed by a Master of Science he won a studentship in 1928 which he used to research at the famous Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge. Snow went on to become a Fellow of Christ's College, Cambridge, in 1930 where he also served as a tutor, but his position became increasingly titular as he branched into other areas of activity. In 1934, he began to publish scientific articles in 'Nature', and then 'The Spectator' before becoming editor of the journal 'Discovery' in 1937. He was also writing fiction during this period and in 1940 'Strangers and Brothers' was published. This was the first of eleven novels in the series and was later renamed 'George Passant' when 'Strangers and Brothers' was used to denote the series itself. 'Discovery' became a casualty of the war, closing in 1940. However, by this time Snow was already involved with the Royal Society, who had organised a group to specifically use British scientific talent operating under the auspices of the Ministry of Labour. He served as the Ministry's technical director from 1940 to 1944. After the war, he became a civil service commissioner responsible for recruiting scientists to work for the government and also returned to writing, continuing the 'Strangers and Brothers' novels. 'The Light and the Dark' was published in 1947, followed by 'Time of Hope' in 1949, and perhaps the most famous and popular of them all, 'The Masters', in 1951. He planned to finish the cycle within five years, but the final novel 'Last Things' wasn't published until 1970. C.P. Snow married the novelist Pamela Hansford Johnson in 1950 and they had one son, Philip, in 1952. He was knighted in 1957 and became a life peer in 1964, taking the title Baron Snow of the City Leicester. He also joined Harold Wilson's first government as Parliamentary Secretary to the new Minister of Technology. When the department ceased to exist in 1966 he became a vociferous back-bencher in the House of Lords. After finishing the 'Strangers and Brothers' series, Snow continued writing both fiction and non-fiction. His last work of fiction was 'A Coat of Vanish', published in 1978. His non-fiction included a short life of Trollope published in 1974 and another, published posthumously in 1981, 'The Physicists: a Generation that Changed the World'. He was also inundated with lecturing requests and offers of honorary doctorates. In 1961, he became Rector of St. Andrews University and for ten years also wrote influential weekly reviews for the 'Financial Times'.

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