'A remarkable vel. Witty, even cynical, observation leads to a conclusion profoundly moving.' - Graham Greene 'Read is undoubtedly one of the most talented velists of our generation.' - Francis King '[A] profoundly serious contemporary writer whose merits . . . are consistently underrated.' - D. J. Taylor 'All dark velvet and dry ice . . . If you are caught up by it, as I was, you will devour it at a single sitting and savor its resonances.' - New York Times 'Rare immaculately constructed work . . . so pleasurable you wish it would never end.' - Evening Standard As a boy, Edward Dawson is sent to an exclusive Catholic boarding school, where at a young age he develops an ambition to do good in the world. Believing he has a religious vocation, Dawson takes his monastic vows and enters the Church, first teaching and later working as a parish priest. But when he finds himself increasingly questioning the value of religious work in an irreligious world and doubting his own belief in God, Dawson leaves behind the only life he has ever kwn and goes to London. There he is taken up by a rich young widow and becomes her lover, entering her circle of decadent, fashionable friends and following a precipitous path towards debauchery and disillusion . . . Piers Paul Read's third vel, Monk Dawson (1969), was a tremendous critical success, winning both the Somerset Maugham Award and the Hawthornden Prize and confirming his reputation as one of the outstanding velists of his generation. This edition, the first in more than 25 years, features a new introduction by the author.