The guns of August are rumbling throughout Europe in the summer of 1914, but war has not yet touched Abingdon Pryory. Here, at the grand home of the Greville family, the parties, dances, and romances play on. Alexandra Greville embarks on her debutante season while brother Charles remains hopelessly in love with the beautiful, untitled Lydia Foxe, knowing that his father, the Earl of Stanmore, will never approve of the match. Downstairs the new servant, Ivy, struggles to adjust to the routines of the well-oiled household staff, as the arrival of American cousin Martin Rilke, a Chicago newspaperman, causes a stir.
But, ultimately, the Great War will not be denied, as what begins for the high-bred Grevilles as a glorious adventure soon takes its toll—shattering the household's tranquillity, crumbling class barriers, and bringing its myriad horrors home.
About the Author
Born in Hollywood, California, Phillip Rock lived in England with his family until the blitz of 1940. He spent his adult years in Los Angeles and published three novels before the Passing Bells series: Flickers, The Dead in Guanajuato, and The Extraordinary Seaman. He died in 2004.
“A capacity to shock, to astonish, and to engage . . . written throughout with economy and wit.”
-New York Times Book Review
“Swift and startling power . . . moving . . . entertaining . . . can absorb you into its fictional landscape as easily as Alice passing through the looking glass.”
-Chicago Tribune Book World
“Well-written, exciting . . . echoes of Hemingway, Graves, and ‘Upstairs, Downstairs,’ with characters who breathe and about whom one cares.”
“Spellbinding. This is really a start-reading-and-don’t-stop-until-you’re-finished-novel.”
“Every twenty-five years or so, we are blessed with a war novel, outstanding in that it depicts not only the history of our time, but also its soul.”
-West Coast Review of Books
“Fascinating . . . a timeless tale of the conflicts that emerge from a violent change. It is a delight to read.”