It is, perhaps, the fifteenth century and the ordered tranquillity of a Mediterranean island is about to be shattered by the appearance of two outsiders: one, a castaway, plucked from the sea by fishermen, whose beliefs represent a challenge to the established order; the other, a child abandoned by her mother and suckled by wolves, who knows nothing of the precarious relationship between church and state but whose innocence will become the subject of a dangerous experiment.
But the arrival of the Inquisition on the island creates a darker, more threatening force which will transform what has been a philosophical game of chess into a matter of life and death.
Praise for Knowledge of Angels:
"A compelling Mediaeval fable, written from the heart and melded to a driving narrative which never once loses its tremendous impact." The Guardian.
"This remarkable novel resemble an illuminated manuscript mapped with angels and mountains and signposts, an allegory for today and yesterday too. A beautiful, unsettling moral fiction about virtue and intolerance." The Observer.
"The lucidity of Jill Paton Walsh's style and the dexterity of the narrative are such that her book reads more like a good thriller than a weighty novel of ideas...an ingenious fable." The Times.
"An irresistible blend of intellect and passion...novels of ideas come no better than this sensual example." Mail on Sunday.
Notoriously, Knowledge of Angels could not find a publisher in Britain, although it was published successfully in the USA by Peter Davison at Houghton Mifflin. As a last resort, Jill Paton Walsh and John Rowe Townsend published it themselves under the Green Bay imprint, with the help of Colt Books, who on hearing of the plan to publish by importing the US edition, came immediately and gladly to the rescue. Knowledge of Angels was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1994
Notes on Knowledge of Angels
Back to booklist
Back to Jill's home page