Castle of Heavenly Bliss

The Castle of Heavenly Bliss was revised and republished in August 2022 . It is now book 5 of the Conciliar series


It is 1975. GERDA VROUWENDIJK, under the name of Edith Bicknell, arrives in the isolated rural town of Binawarra to take up a teaching position in the local high school. Ms. Vrouwendijk is confident she can keep her disguise and purpose hidden, as well as her sinister connections. But she has not reckoned on Florence Barker. Independent Miss Barker, of mature age, outwardly severe, and feared by the townspeople (‘you will call me Miss Barker’), is not at all what she seems. Nor has the memory of a brief meeting fifteen years earlier in Middelburg, Holland, with the crippled local priest, Fr van Engelen, come back to Ms. Vrouwendijk. These slips in her otherwise meticulous planning will prove critical.

Canny Miss Barker and Fr van Engelen set about discovering what Edith Bicknell is doing in their obscure little country town, and why she has an interest in the beautiful, outwardly aloof Estella Winterbine. Her motivations appear ideological but what the ideology is exactly is a mystery.

A tense game of cat and mouse follows as Ms. Vrouwendijk’s manipulation of people and events becomes ever more complex. When a senior teacher is found dead at the bottom of a peak (called Death Rock by the local youth), and the local newspaper begins attacking staid Bill Huckerby, the principal of Binawarra High School, Ms. Vrouwendijk’s plans – whatever their aim – seem to have an unstoppable momentum. Then Estella goes missing. Former SAS captain and Vietnam veteran, Geoffrey Shawcross, sets off in a pursuit that takes him across the world to France and then to the Castle of Heavenly Bliss in the Dutch province of Zeeland. Mystery and thrill go together as Geoff searches for the girl he has fallen in love with.

The CONCILIAR SERIES will consist of eight connected but stand-alone stories. The themes of the ‘Goddess’, neo-paganism, the occult, and Gnosticism are threads through the stories.  The Second Vatican Council and the cultural revolution of the 1960s and 1970s (1965-1975) form the background. The author strives to recreate the atmosphere of the times.

Book 1 in the Conciliar series was TIMES OF DISTRESS, book 2, FEELINGS DIE NOT IN SILENCE, and Book 3, DESCENT IN TO HADES: A SPIRITUAL JOURNEY, then comes COUNTERCULTURE DREAMS, book 4, due 2023. Extensively revised THE CASTLE OF HEAVENLY BLISS book 5 was republished August 2022.

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The Castle of Heavenly Bliss

Writer … and still in the fifties