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"The Kindly Ones" ("A Dance to the Music of Time" Volume 6) by Anthony Powell

The Kindly Ones - Anthony Powell

Exquisite writing, a gripping narrative, humour and a wonderful social history of England

In common with the previous five volumes this book is an absolute delight. Exquisite writing, a gripping narrative, humour and a wonderful social history of England throughout the twentieth century. What more could a reader wish for?

The shadow of war hangs over "The Kindly Ones" ("A Dance to the Music of Time" Volume 6). 

The book opens at the start of World War 1 and closes with the start of World War 2. As in previous volumes the chronology is generally moving forwards however we start by a leap back to Nick's childhood in a family home near Aldershot.

We are also introduced to some new characters, most notably the splendid Dr Trelawney, who must surely be based on Aleister Crowley, and who features in some great scenes and gets some memorable lines. How about this as a way of describing the imminence of World War 2:

"The sword of Mithras, who each year immolates the sacred bull, will ere long now flash from its scabbard. The slayer of Osiris once again demands his grievous tribute of blood. The Angel of Death will ride the storm. 'The god, Mars, approaches the earth to lay waste. Moreover, the future is ever the consequence of the past."

As with previous volumes there are some unexpected twists and turns, including many for characters we have come to know well including our narrator Nick, Widmerpool, Uncle Giles, Moreland, Sir Magnus Donners, General Conyers, Tuffy Weedon, Bob Duport, and Templer. 

I am delighted I still have another six volumes still to read. 

5/5