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Nicholas Mosley: Children of Darkness and Light

Though he never mentions it by name, this novel is clearly about Sellafield, which used to be called Windscale, a nuclear power station in Cumbria, North-West England. Harry is a middle-aged, burnt-out journalist. He is married to Melissa, who became pregnant when she was still a student and he had just started work as a journalist, and they have a son, Billy. Things are somewhat strained between Harry and Melissa. He has worked in Yugoslavia, where he interviewed children who claimed to have seen a vision of the Virgin Mary. Now a commune has been set up by a group of relatively young children near the power station. They claim that they were ordered to do so by the Virgin Mary. Their leader is a nine-year old called Gaby, who is a refugee from Yugoslavia. Harry is sent by his paper to investigate. As this is Mosley, we not only get into issues relating to nuclear power, religious experiences and the innocence of children but also bigger issues like Chernobyl and the conflict in Bosnia. We also get into the issue of what is the truth and where it lies, as Harry struggles with the nuclear power industry, the children and the Bosnian conflict. Surprisingly for Mosley, there is a strong positive element, in the redemptive power of the children, and a more or less happy ending, none of which detracts from another fine novel.

Publishing history

First published 1995 by Secker & Warburg