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The Angel of Mons is a historical novel about St. George’s, Joan of Arc’s, and other angels’ intervention to save the British Expeditionary Force from annihilation in the first three battles of World War One.
In The Guns of August Barbara Tuchman wrote:
As the opening British engagement of what was to become the Great War, (the Battle of Mons) became endowed in retrospect with every quality of greatness and was given a place in the British pantheon equal to the battles of Hastings and Agincourt. Legends like that of the Angels of Mons settled upon it.
The novel brings to life these angelic intercessions—six in number–through the first-hand experiences of a dozen soldiers, Vickers Machine Gun Teams Ruffians and Victors, later Vengeance. They are bound also in oath as initiates in the “Golden Arrows of God” a mystical order of the “Brotherhood of Dieu and Monseigneur Saint Georges,” a Belgian fraternal order.
St. George, St. Jeanne d’Arc and their myriad angels save the two Vickers teams, and thousands of others, each time in ways novel and plausible, performing feats as marvelous as St. George and a horde of angels, some ancient cavalry descending from the sky on horseback, others arising from stones, to fight the Germans. St. Joan, a day later, and her angels, carve a road through the Foret de Mormal, allowing the British impedimenta to pass through and be ready to fight the Germans, and escape, at Le Cateau.
The novel then shifts to London. By August 29, 1914, six days after the battle of Mons, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle receives a message in automatic writing from his brother in-law saying that he is now dead in body and now “on the other side.” That same day, William Butler Yeats, poet, arch-mystic, Hierophant of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn has a vision of overwhelming power and is transported bodily to a company of soldiers at the battle of Le Cateau. These events fill the front rank of the novel’s events.
As fate and history would have it, the last battle between the British and the Germans was fought a Mons, the Germans in retreat. The novel ends with Private Tommy Atkins, the last Ruffian, the remaining “Golden Angel of God” killed, the last British soldier to die in the war a minute before the Armistice went into effect. Atkins ascends to heaven, becoming the Angel of Memory, Tears, and Grief.