Mystical Paths (Starbridge Series #5)

( 3 )


When Nicholas Darrow follows his father into the Anglican priesthood in 1968 at the age of twenty-five, he is fleeing a troubled past. But when his fascination with his own psychic powers results in a near-tragedy, Nicholas must face the truth about his relationship with his father before he can find his way out of the seemingly impenetrable darkness that engulfs him.

Told with all of Susan Howatch's drama, intelligence, and ...

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Mystical Paths (Starbridge Series #5)

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When Nicholas Darrow follows his father into the Anglican priesthood in 1968 at the age of twenty-five, he is fleeing a troubled past. But when his fascination with his own psychic powers results in a near-tragedy, Nicholas must face the truth about his relationship with his father before he can find his way out of the seemingly impenetrable darkness that engulfs him.

Told with all of Susan Howatch's drama, intelligence, and emotional depth, Mystical Paths is a breathtaking novel about the powerful, often painful, but finally indestructible ties between parent and child. And like its four highly praised predecessors in the Church of England series, this novel celebrates the redeeming power of self-knowledge and faith.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Arguably no one writing today can equal Howatch's ability to write compelling novels that combine theology and psychology in a complex, fast-moving plot offering beautifully delineated characters and the suspense of a mystery/thriller. This fifth volume in her sequence dealing with the Church of England is also very much a story of fathers and sons. At 25, Nicholas Darrow, scion of eminent churchman Jonathan Darrow (seen in Glamorous Powers ) has inherited his father's psychic gifts, but overconfidence in his abilities and a dangerously frayed relationship with his father lead him close to the edge of an emotional abyss. Asked by the widow of his friend Christian Aysgarth to investigate her husband's death--Christian was drowned when swept overboard while sailing, but she fears that he committed suicide--Nick embarks on a quest that uncovers dark secrets in the linked lives of his friends and family. Howatch gradually reveals that brilliant, much-admired Christian had love affairs with both men and women, took drugs and was probably nearing a psychotic breakdown when he died. She makes a credible case for his demonic possession, which Nick attempts to prove via several ill-considered acts that bring peril to him and others. The novel's considerable suspense increases as Nick uncovers one astonishing revelation after another, and the denouement will leave readers breathless. 55,000 first printing; BOMC alternate. (May)
Kirkus Reviews
The air is thick with incense and mysteries (both secular and non) in this fifth smashing novel in Howatch's High Church series (Spontaneous Risks, 1990, etc.). Whoever would have thought that she could turn 20th-century theology into bestsellerdom? But she's done it again, this time reminding us that she's a mistress of the generational novel as well—because, here, the sons of heroes (actually, psychically wounded antiheroes, scrambling back to God) from former volumes step up to, well, the altar. It doesn't take 25-year-old Nick Darrow long to get into deep spiritual trouble here; after all, he's not only psychically touched (like his 88-year-old father, Jon, from Glamorous Powers) but young, cocky, impatient, sexually hyperactive—and, to make matters worse, it's 1968. On the eve of Nick's ordination, a debutante friend convinces him to look into the death of Christian Aysgarth, a brilliant Oxford don who died suddenly in a boating accident, leaving behind a wife agonized with guilt because she thinks it was suicide. So, Nick to the rescue, with a botched exorcism and not-so-botched seduction of the grieving widow. Such occurrences, along with Nick's double life as a Casanova among working girls, make him dimly aware that his personality is frayed, but he can't open up to his saintly father for fear that the beloved old guy will die of horror. Nick plunges on, then, eventually getting so obsessed with the Aysgarth affair that he believes himself possessed by the dead man. That's when Father Lewis Hall shows up in his groovy white VW to take Nick by the hand and lead him to the light. Along the way back, Christian's death is resolved in a spiffy little climax that includesan attempted murder, an exorcism conducted—quite successfully this time—by Nick, and a spiritual healing between Nick and his father. If only spiritual guides showed up like fairy godmothers in real life! Howatch even brings psychological and theological meaning to Nick's salvation. A sure-fire hit.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786121779
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/28/2002
  • Series: Starbridge Series, #5
  • Format: Cassette
  • Edition description: Unabridged

Meet the Author

SUSAN HOWATCH was born in England in 1940. She received a law degree from the University of London and later spent eleven years in America, where she married and had a daughter. After four years in Ireland, she returned to England in 1980 and settled in Salisbury, the basis of her fictional Starbridge, in which her current series of novels is set.

Roe Kendall, a native of the British Isles, graduated from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, London. She has performed on stage, as a voice-over artist, and as an audiobook narrator.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 28, 2011

    Read this

    The church of england series is addictive, you wont be disapointed. I love the characters, her use of first person is phoenominal. You will love em.

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  • Posted April 26, 2011

    Excellent writing, good story

    A nice historical trip through England's Anglican Church along with an engaging story and well-developed characters. Now I need to read the entire series

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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