'...the folly isn't mine. It's God's Folly. Even in the old days He never asked men to do what was reasonable. Men can do that for themselves. They can buy and sell, heal and govern. But then out of some deep place comes the command to do what makes sense at all - to build a ship on dry land; to sit among the dunghills; to marry a whore; to set their son on the altar of sacrifice. Then, if men have faith, a new thing comes.' Dean Jocelin has a vision: that God has chosen him to erect a great spire on his cathedral. His mason anxiously advises against it, for the old cathedral was built without foundations. Nevertheless, the spire rises octagon upon octagon, pinnacle by pinnacle, until the stone pillars shriek and the ground beneath it swims. Its shadow falls ever darker on the world below, and on Dean Jocelin in particular.
William Golding (1911-1993) was a Booker and Nobel Prize-winning author, best known for his first novel, Lord of the Flies, published originally in 1954 and adapted for film in 1963. His other works include The Inheritors (1955), Pincher Martin (1956), The Spire (1964), Rites of Passage (1980), The Double Tongue (published posthumously in 1995) a now rare volume, Poems (1934) and the essay collections The Hot Gates and A Moving Target. Golding was educated at Marlborough Grammar School and at Brasenose College, Oxford. Before his writing career, Golding was a schoolmaster. He was also a keen actor, musician and small-boat sailor. In 2008, The Times ranked Golding third on their list of The 50 greatest British writers since 1945 .