God on the Rocks by Jane Gardam

By Jane Gardam

In the course of one excellent summer season among the wars, the realities of lifestyles and the sexual ritual dance of the grownup global creep into the lifetime of younger Margaret Marsh. Her father, preaching the doctrine of the unsavoury Primal Saints; her mom, bitterly nostalgic for what could have been; Charles and Binkie, anchored long ago and a online game of phrases; death Mrs Frayling and Lydia the maid, given to the vulgar delight in lifestyles; all give a contribution to Margaret's shattering second of fact. And whilst the hurricane breaks, it's not purely God who's at the rocks because the summer season hurtles in the direction of drama, tragedy, and a marginally of farce.

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All wore armour of the same blue. All of them carried great weapons too heavy for a mortal man to lift unaided. ‘They are not the Bearers of the Word,’ she raised her voice above the chanting. Several people kneeling around her replied with harsh whispers and potent curses. Cyrene was drawing breath to call out the accusation a third time when the angels, moving in inhuman unison, raised their weapons and aimed into the crowd of worshippers. The sight stole the breath from her throat. The first angel spoke, its voice deep and raw, filtered through hidden speakers in its facemask.

Now. ’ Cyrene spat over the side of the balcony. ‘I will go, only because I seek illumination. ’ ‘The truth will be revealed,’ the warrior said, as the craft made ready to hover away. ‘At sunrise on the seventh day, turn and look back to your city. ’ And so dawned the seventh day. The lightening sky found Cyrene Valantion standing atop a rise in the Galahe Foothills, her traditional dress hidden beneath a long jacket clutched tightly against the worsening autumn wind. Her hair blew free in a mane, and she watched the utterly silent, utterly still city to the east.

At the command, one hundred captains advanced, bolters and blades held at ease in gauntlets of grey. One hundred Chaplains, their gold trimmings and crozius mauls marking them out from the ranks, remained a step behind. Behind the warrior-priests, a hundred thousand Word Bearers stood at the ready, holding ranks despite the uneven platform made by the pulverised ground. Argel Tal tore his glance from Guilliman, the Lord of Macragge’s noble features as difficult to look upon as his own father’s.

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