I can't tell you how much I've enjoyed reading Phillip Rock's Passing Bells trilogy - not only on my own, but with all of you. It was with some regret that I turned the final page in A Future Arrived, the final book in the series. But then I remembered that I could share my thoughts, and read all of yours, so it wasn't really over, at least not yet!
A Future Arrived
The final installment of the saga of the Grevilles of Abingdon Pryory begins in the early 1930s, as the dizzy gaiety of the Jazz Age comes to a shattering end. What follows is a decade of change and uncertainty, as the younger generation, born during or just after the "war to end all wars," comes of age.
American writer Martin Rilke has made his journalistic mark, earning worldwide fame with his radio broadcasts, and young Albert Thaxton seeks to follow in his footsteps as a foreign correspondent. Derek Ramsey, born only weeks after his father fell in France, and Colin Ross, a dashing Yankee, leave their schoolboy days behind and enter fighter pilot training as young men. The beautiful Wood-Lacy twins, Jennifer and Victoria, and their passionate younger sister, Kate, strive to forge independent paths, while learning to love—and to let go.
In their heady youth and bittersweet growth to adulthood, they are the future—but the shadows that touched the lives of the generation before are destined to reach out to their own.
Questions for Discussion
1. In this third book, the action is focused much more on the new generation - and while I understand why (they're younger and more exciting), it was hard sometimes to read more about Albert and Jennifer, and Colin and Kate, rather than Alexandra and Charles and Fenton. How did you feel about this new generation?
2. Martin remains a constant, and I found the introduction of Albert Thaxton so interesting. What did you make of his decision to pursuse journalism rather than an Oxford degree?
3. As he did in The Passing Bells, where he inserted Rupert Brooke and his poetry into the story, Rock includes the book and film adaptation of All Quiet on the Western Front and uses the public's reaction to it in the novel to show us what is happening in Europe. Rock often includes the literature of the time, including Martin's own books. Why do you think he chooses to do this?
4. What do you think compels Colin and Derek to enlist, and Jennifer Wood-Lacy and Dulcie to work for peace or social progress?
5. Broadcast technology is changing the way the war is portrayed and fought. What did you think of Martin's radio broadcasts? Do you think that radio changed the course of the war?
6. In what ways do you think the entire trilogy supports, or discredits, romantic notions of war, honor and patriotism?
I look forward to hearing all of your answers - and if you answer them on your own blog, please leave a link to them in the comments! And thank you all for joining the read along - I hope you've enjoyed it as much as I have!