Prisons, the first volume of The Beulah Quintet - Mary Lee Settle's unforgettable generational saga about the roots of American culture, class, and identity and the meaning of freedom - follows the coming-of-age of Johnny Church from English youngster to dashing Oxford adolescent to idealistic Puritan in the service of Cromwell's Parliamentary Army. Throughout his evolution, Johnny seeks emancipation from a multitude of emotional, political, and religious prisons, not realizing that with each successive grasp at freedom, he escapes one form of captivity only to be confined by another.
When Cromwell, the leader Johnny has supported so staunchly, limits the freedoms for which Johnny has taken up arms, he bravely questions the commander. Shortly thereafter he finds himself held in a prison of stone and mortar where, as an example to other soldiers tempted to champion their rights, he is executed.
Based on a true incident of the English Civil War, Prisons captures the promise and tragedy of the conflict that led to one of the first substantial migrations to North America and lays the foundation for the next chapter in Settle's riveting saga - O Beulah Land.
Corporal Johnny Church is educated, well-born, and bows for his beliefs to no one man; with Cromwell at Naseby, he gradually becomes disenchanted with the great general's religious intolerance and, finally, the disastrous attempt to send the English army into Ireland to subdue the irascible Catholics. As an "Agitator" and petitioner for the soldiers, Church, as history tells us, lost his life, and Cromwell - England's only dictator - remains a mystery. The book is filled with endless religious conversations revolving around freedom of conscience, all in the Puritan idiom of the middle 17th century - not exactly the most enlivening discourse in the world. This is a valiant and perhaps necessarily tedious effort to reconstruct the life of a man whose name we know only from the newspapers of the day. (Kirkus Reviews)
Series: Beulah Quintet S.
Number Of Pages: 268
Published: 1st March 1996
Publisher: University of South Carolina Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 20.4 x 14.0 x 1.83
Weight (kg): 0.35
Edition Type: New edition