Susan Howatch Biography
(1940– ), Penmarric, Cashelmara, The Sins of the Fathers, Glittering Images, Glamorous Powers, Ultimate Prizes, Scandalous Risks
British novelist, born in Surrey; she studied law but turned to writing, achieving success with her first novel, Penmarric (1971), a family saga set in Cornwall, which utilizes the ‘double’ technique she has used elsewhere, particularly in her historical fiction, relocating the story of Henry II to a different time and place. Cashelmara (1974), similarly, incorporates two different historical periods; The Sins of the Fathers (1980) tells the story of Julia, daughter of the Emperor Augustus, but sets it in the contemporary world. Glittering Images (1987) was the first in a series of novels devoted to the influence of individual talents and powerful personalities on the Church of England, using the same double technique. The novel, which was loosely based on the life of Bishop Herbert Hensley Henson, was followed by several others, including Glamorous Powers (1988), which refers to the writings of Dean Inge; Ultimate Prizes (1989), based on Charles Raven's religious thought; and Scandalous Risks (1990), which deals with the repercussions in the Church of Dr John Robinson's book, Honest to God. Mystical Paths (1992) and Absolute Truths (1994) complete the series. She has also conceived, selected, and introduced The Library of Anglican Spirituality (1994), eight reissues of classic theological texts.