Reaching back into the previous century, The Chain tells with insight and humour the story of marital and other vicissitudes of an English Catholic family in a period marked by WWII and its aftermath: the breakup of the British Empire and passing of hegemony to America; the Second Vatican Council; and the social and educational developments of the mid-twentieth century.
This is the setting for the playing out of the great—arguably the greatest—theme of the conflict between Original Sin passed down through the generations and Grace communicated through the sacraments of the Church. Through vibrantly embodied characters, the reader is invited to enter into souls struggling—with varying outcomes—at an ever-shifting line demarcating Tradition and Modernity. The effect is cathartic.
The novel is neither didactic nor a surreptitious manual of doctrine, but is instead a carefully orchestrated, realistic story full of symbolism and resonances that speak to its time as also to our time, but beyond them to all times.