A Thread of Scarlet


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By Bruce Marshall

Léon Bloy’s The Pilgrim of the Absolute offers one of the epigraphs to A Thread of Scarlet: “When we are not talking to God or for God, it is to the devil that we speak, and he listens to us in a formidable silence.” Donald Campbell, convert to Catholicism, confronts this conditional daily—for he is a priest. And as the devil says to the priest in Georges Bernanos’ Under the Sun of Satan, “I have you all numbered. Not one of you escapes me.” Father Campbell, however, as he moves from priesthood to episcopacy to the crowning achievement of a cardinal’s red hat, gives the lie to this boast of the Father of Lies. Determined to serve the Church and spread Christ’s Gospel, Father Campbell must accept that the Lord’s ways are not his ways, and that the only means to prove one’s own goodness is on the grounds of God’s good graces.

The Church was the immense hotch-potch of the baptised, longing to know or afraid to know. The Church was a thread of scarlet. The Church was a mirror held up. The Church was God’s tent pitched on earth. Even at its grubbiest the Church was marked and the assertion made.

A worthy successor to Marshall’s Father Malachy’s Miracle and The World, the Flesh, and Father Smith, A Thread of Scarlet presents in riveting detail and with scintillating dialogue the drama of one man’s priestly life.

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Bruce Marshall (1899–1987) was a Scottish writer, accountant, veteran of both World Wars, and convert to Roman Catholicism. In a career spanning six decades, Marshall wrote forty novels, five of which will feature in the Cluny Classics series: Father Malachy’s Miracle, The Month of the Falling Leaves, The Accounting, Vespers in Vienna, and A Thread of Scarlet.

Paperback: 212pp.

ISBN: 978-1685951375