suspenseful reading

Charles Williams and Chesterton
Read the other Inkling. As many readers know, C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Charles Williams and others met in an informal group called the Inklings at the Eagle and Child Pub in Oxford (also known as the Bird and Baby) or in Lewis' rooms. Williams wrote Lewis after reading one of his books, and Lewis wrote Williams after reading The Place of the Lion. Lewis, Tolkien and Williams all wrote in different styles. Williams' novels have been called "supernatural shockers". They are novels of ideas interwoven with suspenseful action, usually with occult themes. For something completely different, try Charles Williams. Also see Thomas Howard's companion guide to CW's novels below. For more information or to order, click on the picture (also see: "Charles Williams" in the Living Dog Store).

War in Heaven

An Archdeacon finds what may be the holy graal in a village church, and uses it to celebrate Mass. At the same time, nefarious powers want it for very different reasons. This supernatural detective story is a great place to enter Williams' world. The journey of the Archdeacon and other characters illustrates Williams' maxim, "Believe and doubt well".

Many Dimensions

The first novel published seems like a variation on themes that were later worked out in War in Heaven. A mysterious stone seems to hold the secrets of time and space.

Descent into Hell

Read often in college English classes, this elegant novel takes place on at least three levels. While rehearsing a village play, a man begins his descent into hell, as a woman begins her ascent into heaven.

The Place of the Lion

 C.S. Lewis, having read this novel, wrote Williams to say how much he liked it, and the two became fast friends. Mysterious animal-like powers have been let loose and ravage England.

The Greater Trumps

Based around the deck of tarot cards, an involved and rewarding magical fantasy.

Shadows of Ecstasy

As a dictator lets loose magical powers, other magicians compete for a rare prize.

All Hallows Eve

Perhaps Williams' finest novel. The world comes to the brink of collapse while phantoms stalk the streets of another London.

The Novels of Charles Williams by Thomas Howard

Thomas Howard masterfully guides the reader through the novels.

Victorian/ Edwardian writer G.K. Chesterton wrote at the turn of the century, and some of these novels are 100 years old. Known for his Father Brown mystery stories, Chesterton's novels span the genres, from detective stories to fantasy, often combining them as in The Man Who Was Thursday, which is subtitled, "A Nightmare." These books have continued to fascinate readers for ten decades, and some of them seem more up to date than when they were written. There is no one like GKC. No wonder these books are enjoying a revival. For more information or to order, click on the picture. (See more Chesterton in the Living Dog Store).

The Ball and the Cross

Originally written as a newspaper serial. An atheist and a Catholic seek to fight a duel, but in their enlightened age, dueling is strictly forbidden.


A brief, lively novel full of twists and turns and Chestertonian wit.

The Man Who Was Thursday

Chesterton's most famous novel, published in 1908, is subtitled "A Nightmare". It's a detective story about anarchists in Edwardian England. Isn't it?

The Flying Inn

When the teetotaling elite outlaw breweries, one rebel barman provides quick service on the run. Filled with Chesterton's poems, at once light and profound.

The Napoleon of Notting Hill

Chesterton's first published novel set the stage for his "small is beautiful" defense of life.

The Club of Queer Trades

A number of short stories which all tie together in a dazzling way. GKC once again awakes our latent love of life.

The Paradoxes of Mr. Pond

Another series of seemingly unrelated tales which end up wittingly tied together.

The Poet and the Lunatics

A typically Chestertonian meditation on what is sanity and what madness, and why.

The Complete Father Brown

Chesterton became famous for his detective tales about a "shabby, little priest" who solves crimes.

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