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Mystical Paths | [Susan Howatch]

Mystical Paths

Nicholas Darrow, a strong-willed and independent young man, has grown up under the shadow of the Church of England and the loving but watchful eye of his father, an Anglican priest. Like his father, he too has both a gift and a burden in the form of psychic abilities. Although his father warns him to nurture his special powers with care, Nicholas can see no harm in the occasional dazzling "psychic flourish" - until one results in a friend's attempted suicide.
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Publisher's Summary

Nicholas Darrow, a strong-willed and independent young man, has grown up under the shadow of the Church of England and the loving but watchful eye of his father, an Anglican priest. Like his father, he too has both a gift and a burden in the form of psychic abilities. Although his father warns him to nurture his special powers with care, Nicholas can see no harm in the occasional dazzling "psychic flourish" - until one results in a friend's attempted suicide.

Now, staggering under the weight of remorse, horrified by the dangerous edge of his powers, Nicholas moves toward the brink of emotional collapse. When a terrifying vision suggests to him that he might literally be possessed, he must at last begin to face the truth of his past - and, in particular, of his relationship with his father - to find the one path that may lead him out of the seemingly impenetrable darkness.

©1992 Leaftree Limited; (P)2000 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Arguably no one writing today can equal Howatch's ability to write compelling novels that combine theology and psychology in a complex, fast-moving plot offering beautifully delineated characters and the suspense of a mystery/thriller....the denouement will leave readers breathless." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

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3.5 (23 )
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4.6 (9 )
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  •  
    S. Lev-Ami JERUSALEM Israel 07-12-10
    S. Lev-Ami JERUSALEM Israel 07-12-10 Member Since 2005

    Antigonos

    HELPFUL VOTES
    178
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    22
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    "Not the Best of Howatch"

    Story: In my opinion, this is the weakest of the "Church of England" books, because of the large paranormal element, and the somewhat unbelievable plot, but with her usual skill, Howatch carries it off. There's no doubt she is a very talented writer, and I recommend this if you've read any of the others and like the genre. It may be too "churchy" for some, and too static for others [none of the novels are action adventures, really]. The summing up at the end sounds a lot like a sermon, and I'm not fondest of Nicholas Darrow when he's preaching. For Howatch, it is an unusually clumsy ending.

    Narrator: Why, oh why, when the story is told in the first person by a MAN, and most of the characters are male, is the book read by a WOMAN? Nicholas, who is 25, sounds like a 12 year old whose voice hasn't yet broken. At times different characters all have the same accent, making dialogue confusing. The narrator is a competent reader, but a man who has a range of accents would have been much better.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JS Colorado, United States 03-07-10
    JS Colorado, United States 03-07-10 Member Since 2008
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    "Susan Howatch is one of my favorites"

    and I particularly love the Starbridge Series. They are wonderful works on dealing with personal/spiritual crises. You can read the books on their own but it is more enjoyable to start with the first, Glittering Images, and continue from there. I have reread the books and listened to the ones Audible has available and I wish Audible had Ultimate Prizes, my favorite in the series.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Adam Shields Marietta, GA, USA 04-26-14
    Adam Shields Marietta, GA, USA 04-26-14 Member Since 2003

    Book blogger at Bookwi.se

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Nicholas has to come to his own faith and purpose"

    I am continuing to really enjoy the Church of England Series. Mystical Paths is the fifth of the Church of England series and is the start of a spinoff series about Nicholas that starts with High Fliers. There is one more in the Church of England Series, Absolute Truths. But that book goes back to the 1960s again and revisits the original protagonist that started the series, Charles Ashworth.

    Mystical Paths broke the series format again. This book is mostly a mystery/thriller. Christian Aysgarth, the oldest son of Neville (subject of books 3 and 4) died in 1965. But Katie, his wife is still troubled with the thought that it was not an accident, but a suicide (and she is to blame).

    Nicholas, with his psychic powers, so a like but so different from his father’s, wants to bring healing to Katie, but instead brings her pain. So as penance Nicholas seeks out the truth of Christian’s death.

    Of course being the Church of England series, Nicholas has to confront his own sin and the way it separates him from God and distracts him from his own path and calling.

    It is a very different feel, not only the elements of mystery, but also paranormal thriller. Because one of the very real possibilities is the Christian was possessed by a demon and/or is a ghost currently haunting those that were around him.

    Again, this is a very different sort of book from traditional Christian fiction. There is a lot of sex, drugs, alcohol and other sins in this book. But I think it serves well the intent of most Christian fiction to get the reader to examine their faith and seek out a deeper faith.

    (originally published on my blog, Bookwi.se)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    MIke 04-02-11
    MIke 04-02-11 Member Since 2002
    ratings
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    "Wrong Reader"

    What a shame that this segment of the Starbridge novels is being read by a female. I'm about 2 hours into the book which follows Nicholas Darrow. 90% of the dialog so far is male, it would be so much better if read by a man.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    05-24-09
    05-24-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "torture"

    Hi I hate to write a bad review so must begin by stating that I am only about five hours into the unabridged audio version which is broken into three parts and is probably about 26 hours long. I've found no humor, nothing mythical and very little to even spark interest there has been nothing even slightly leading where I might get a bit interested about something to come. Its a loaf of white bread, white noise, I use it to sleep at night now. if anyone read this and can give me some hope i'd love to hear that it picks up at some point, and I will ammend this if it does zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzMaureen AKA Damsel

    2 of 5 people found this review helpful
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