The Alms for Oblivion sequence - an extraordinary series of murders, suicides, affairs, fighting, fires and at least one explosion, blackmail, gambling, illness, madness, lots of parties and plenty of sex - draws to a close with two vels about death and retribution. But Simon Raven's achievement and the conflicted, colourful or uniquely vile characters he created are t easily forgotten after the last page is turned. Volume III includes Bring Forth the Body and The Survivors .
Author Simon Raven was perhaps known as much for his controversial behaviour as for his writing. He grew up reading and studying the classics, translating them from Greek and Latin into English and vice-versa. He was expelled from Charterhouse School in 1945 for homosexual activities, having first been seduced at the age of nine by the games master (an experience he described as giving 'immediate and unalloyed pleasure ) and went on to join the army. Following his National Service, Raven attended King's College, Cambridge to read English. Raven later returned to the army but was asked to resign rather than face a court-martial for 'conduct unbecoming.' It was at this point that he turned his focus to writing. The publisher Anthony Blond paid Raven to write and to move away from London to Deal, Kent. His works span a multitude of genres including fiction, drama, essays, memoirs and screenplays. Simon Raven died in May 2001, having written his own epitaph: He shared his bottle - and, when still young and appetising, his bed.