Dick Grainger is growing up in Yorkshire and Maria Verzotto is in her far-off home in Monteleone in Sicily when they first hear the story of the Golden Lion - the story of a hero, a prince who wins his princess. Later, Helen Connors, the child whom Maria adopts, and Guy, her painfully loved son, will read it, too....
But there is another Lion: the Lion of Monteleone, who rules his village kingdom through extortion, kidnapping, murder. This is the Lion Maria remembers from early childhood days when, hidden in a linen chest, she hears what has become of her missing cousin - a knowledge so terrible that it haunts her all her life. Through Maria the two are linked, just as through Maria two worlds are linked: a world of poverty and power in Sicily; of privilege and pain in Yorkshire. The Golden Lion reveals the savage reality of human life which lies beneath the glorious childhood dreams - the reality which includes as well as love, infidelity and betrayal, revenge, and loss.
Pamela Haines has created a magnificent, sweeping saga of love and pain and self-discovery. Her characters, related and interrelated by blood, by love, or by destiny, have that rare and compelling quality: they live and breathe. Pamela Haines was born in Yorkshire, like so many of the characters in her novels. Knaresborough, Leeds, and Harrogate have all played a part in her family background. She was educated at a convent in the Midlands, and then read English at Newnham College, Cambridge. As a child she wrote nonstop, but around the age of 17, life became too busy, and she did not write again until her late 30s, by which time she was married to a doctor, and had five children. In 1971 she won the Spectator New Writing Prize with a short story, and eventually completed her first novel, Tea at Gunter's, in 1973. Critically acclaimed, it was the joint winner of the Yorkshire Arts Association Award for Young Writers. It was followed in 1976 by A Kind of War, described as 'a book to re-read and treasure' in the Daily Telegraph, and the even more successful Men on White Horses followed in 1978.
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