The Wooden Shepherdess
by Richard Hughes, introduction by Hilary Mantel
The Wooden Shepherdess is the sequel to The Fox in the Attic, and the second volume of Richard Hughes’s monumental historical fiction, “The Human Predicament.” It opens with Hughes’s hero Augustine in prohibition era America, where he is a bemused onlooker and an increasingly fascinated participant in a country intoxicated with sex, violence, and booze. In brilliant cinematic style, the book then moves to Germany, where the Nazi Party is gradually gaining in power; to the slums, mining towns, parliamentary back rooms, and great houses of a Britain teetering on the verge of class war; and to the wilds of the Atlas Mountains of Morocco. The novel ends with a terrifying account of the Night of the Long Knives, as Hitler ruthlessly secures his hold upon Germany.
This new edition of the The Wooden Shepherdess concludes with the twelve chapters that Hughes completed of the planned third volume of “The Human Predicament,” here published for the first time in America.
The two volumes we already have of "The Human Predicament" [The Fox in the Attic, The Wooden Sheperdess] are in themselves enough to make the novel a major and unique contribution to the century's fiction.
— Walter Allen