It is a seductive world in which the action of this astonishing novel unfolds: cultivated, privileged, secure, the close-knit world of an Oxford college, epitomized by the Master and the Master's house, a haven of good taste, intelligence and aristocratic nonconformity. With one or two exceptions, its inhabitants would - if they were to thank God for anything - thank Him that they are not as other men. Yet these are not stonyhearted snobs; they have accepted an outsider - Nevil Rigden, product of a city slum. He is a friend to the great Thomas Paget, husband to Paget's sister, and he stands high in the Master's favour. Bemused by elegance, urbanity and intellect, we discover with shock and then with horror the web of abomination being spun, inexorably, fatally, within this charmed - and charming - circle. No one can read this story unshaken.
Storm Jameson (1891- 1986) born to a North Yorkshire family of shipbuilders. Jameson's fiery mother, who bore three girls, encouraged Storm (christened Margaret Storm) to pursue an academic education. After being taught privately and at Scarborough municipal school she won one of three county scholarships which enabled her to read English Literature at Leeds University. She then went on to complete an MA in European Drama at King's College London.
During her career Jameson wrote forty-five novels, numerous pamphlets, essays, and reviews, in an effort to make money. Her personal life suffered, and her first marriage to schoolmaster Charles Douglas Clarke was an unhappy one. After they divorced in 1925, Jameson went on to marry Guy Chapman, a fellow author, and remained with him despite her apparent rejection of normal domestic life.
Storm Jameson was always politically active, helping to publish a Marxist journal in the British section of the International Union of Revolutionary Writers in 1934 and attending anti-fascist rallies.