Two friends hoofing it through the English countryside are warned about an escaped lioness roaming the area. A short time later, the two young men witness the lioness leap a garden gate and collide with a man passing by. When the tumbling forms finally settle and the scene becomes clear, the two witnesses see standing over the prone man not a lioness but “a lion such as the young men had never seen in any zoo or menagerie; it was gigantic and seemed to their dazed senses to be growing larger every moment.”
So begins “The Place of the Lion,” by Charles Williams. If you’ve never heard of the book or its author, don’t be surprised. Charles Williams was a lesser known member of the famous writers group The Inklings. C. S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien were two of its more famous members.
I had never heard of this author either until a few months back when I happened across this book at one of my favorite thrift stores. For only ten cents I couldn’t pass it up. This weekend I picked it up and began to read. I’m glad I did.
The story examines what would happen if “between a world of living principles, existing in its own state of being, and this present world, a breach had been made.” Thus the escaped lioness becomes the archetypal LION. Other archetypes begin to appear as well. Fun ensues. OK, maybe not “fun” exactly, but it sures makes for a fascinating tale.
I’m only five chapters in, but at a bit over 200 pages this won’t take long to finish. So far I can see more than a little of C.S. Lewis in here, which isn’t surprising since evidently Lewis and Williams were close.
I’ll give a complete report when I’ve finished it.