Anthony Burgess, author of A Clockwork Orange, is regarded as one of the most original and daring writers in the English language. His work is illuminated by a dazzling imagination, by a gift for character and plot, by a talent for surprise.
In Earthly Powers Burgess created his masterpiece. At its center are two twentieth-century men who represent different kinds of power—Kenneth Toomey, eminent novelist, a man who has outlived his contemporaries to survive into honored, bitter, luxurious old age as a celebrity of dubious notoriety; and Don Carlo Campanati, a man of God, eventually beloved Pope, who rises through the Vatican as a shrewd manipulator to become the architect of church revolution and a candidate for sainthood.
Through the lives of these two modern men Burgess explores the very essence of power. As each pursues his career—one to sainthood, one to wealthy exile—their relationship becomes the heart of a narrative that incorporates almost everyone of fame and distinction in the social, literary, and political life of America and Europe. This astonishing company is joined together by the art of a great novelist into an explosive and entertaining tour de force that will captivate fans of sweeping historic fiction.