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Antal Szerb was born in 1901 into a cultivated Budapest family of Jewish descent. Graduating in German and English, he rapidly established himself as a prolific scholar, publishing books on drama and poetry, studies of Ibsen and Blake, and histories of English, Hungarian and world literature. His first novel, The Pendragon Legend, was written in 1934. Journey by Moonlight appeared in 1937, followed in 1943 by The Queen's Necklace and various volumes of novellas. He died in a forced-labour camp at Balf in January 1945.
"The novel shoots back and forth between London and Wales; and, quite astonishingly, there is not a false note in it. (...) Szerb is a master novelist, a comedian whose powers transcend time and language (again, thanks to Rix for his tender approach to the source material), and a playful, sophisticated intellect. (...) There is so much in this book that it is impossible to summarise, except to say that it is a romp, but one which romps within itself; it has fun with the conventions, and has fun with having fun with them, too. It is an absolute treat, deliciously ludic, to be read with a big smile on your face throughout" Nicholas Lezard The Guardian "Szerb was fluent in German and English and greatly interested in unusual religious beliefs. His knowledge of Rosicrucianism and the occult informs this often very funny book, which takes many affectionate potshots at the period's popular fiction. Szerb, who produced a history of English literature, knew his Shakespeare, Blake and Milton, but also the frothier writings of John Buchan, Edgar Wallace and P G Wodehouse" Paul Bailey The Independent