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The Campaign

A Crown of Wild Myrtle

First Published in 1962 by Michael Joseph Limited.

A Crown of Wild Myrtle A Crown of Wild Myrtle

The setting of this novel is a small Greek island, at the height of summer. An Englishman travelling alone makes the acquaintance of a girl, Ruth Forbes, and her older travelling companion, Mrs. Keller. It soon strikes him that the realtionship between the two women is not merely and uncomfortable one; it has in it something ominous; indeed is is sinister. He gradually discovers that the girl is, in fact, being held in a sort of emotional bondage.

How he succeeds in releasing her from this bondage and in giving her the kind of love she very desperately needs forms the theme of a tale that is near-tragic in its suspense and ominous beauty."

"This short novel by Mr Bates is a sensuous demonstration of the virtues, and the power, of that crown of myrtle once it has been frankly exchanged between a man and a woman... Mr Bates has an eye like the lens of a Leica camera, and what he describes is recogniseable down to the smallest wild flower, and the faintest whiff of vapour of the midnight waters of the mediterranean... Mr Bates has a gift for persuasively presenting love at first sight. ... Suspense being one aspect of Mr Bates's professional skill as a story-teller."
The Bookman

"Displays the author at his near-poetic best. It is a love story set among the Greek islands, and idyll that is threatened by evil and almost ends in tragedy, a haunting evocation of beauty dogged by an elusive beast."
Oxford Mail

"The story is so enthralling and the atmosphere of heat, of evil, of romance and the sea's beauty, so compelling, that the whole work is admirable."
Yorkshire Evening Post

"Examples of a form which Mr H.E. Bates has mastered, perhaps better than anyone writing in the English language. The novella... perfectly suits the subtle and descriptively simple talent of this writer whose warmth of feeling, nostalgia within bounds and exquisite simplicity of expression have very few rivals indeed."
The Sphere

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