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Rites of Passage

An extraordinary mixture of the sea, society and the individual in an early nineteenth century Royal Navy sailing ship on its way to Australia. What happened to the wretched parson on his visit to the fo'c'stle to bring Christian enlightenment to the jolly Jack Tars? What made him will his own death? And how did Edmund Talbot, the young aristocrat whose journal forms most of the narrative, respond to the bewildering cast of passengers and crew in the drama of this confined environment?

A single passenger, the obsequious Reverend Colley, attracts the animosity of the sailors, and in the seclusion of the fo'castle something happens to bring him into a 'hell of degradation', where shame is a force deadlier than the sea itself.

To the Ends of the Earth

Sea Trilogy TV photo

To the Ends of the Earth is the 'Sea Trilogy' title for three of Golding's most gripping - and funniest - novels: Rites of Passage, Close Quarters, and Fire Down Below. BBC 2 broadcast a three-part television dramatisation of the trilogy in May-June 2005. The adaptation starred Benedict Cumberbatch, Sam Neill, Victoria Hamilton and Jared Harris, and was filmed partly in South Africa, near Capetown.

BBC TV adaptation of Golding's 'To the Ends of the Earth'

John Carey's new biography of William Golding

John Carey

Drawing almost entirely on materials that have never before been made public, John Carey, the distinguished writer and critic, sheds new light on Golding. Through hundreds of letters, unpublished works and Golding's intimate journals, Carey draws a revelatory and definitive portrait of an extraordinary man. In an absorbing and compelling narrative, he reveals a many-sided figure: a war-hero, a reclusive depressive who considered himself a 'monster', a family man, a victim of fears and phobias who battled against alcoholism, and a writer who trusted the imagination above all things.

Follow the link below to hear 'audio snippets' where Carey reads from his highly praised new biography.

William Golding: The Man Who Wrote Lord of the Flies