As the book comes to the end there is a sense in which a period of history is closing. In a very well crafted scene at the thanksgiving service in the presence of the King and royal household the service acts as a remembrance for all that the war has meant to Jenkins.
He recalls those that have died and the changes that it has led to in his own life. Surrounded by memories of the past he walks straight out into another one meeting Jean Duport, his old flame, but that coincidence is something to be expected in Powell’s world.
What you remember from this book is not just the way that Widmerpool raises through the ranks and settles on marrying the most unsuitable Pamela Flitton, but also how the war took away friends and family quite indiscriminately.
Of the three war books this is the most enjoyable and because it is primarily set in London, except for the interesting excursion to meet Monty in France, somehow more of a wider view. The other two books helped explain how Jenkins got to this point but it is in the war focused streets of Whitehall that the conflict finally seems to come alive.
A review will be posted soon…