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The Captive and the Free

The power of mass persuasion, like all power, is a dangerous weapon.

The Rev. Walter Preedy, faith healer, has this power, and Hooper, ruthless journalist on the Morning Argus, is determined that nothing is going to stop him getting the full Preedy story.

Caught between the maniacal religious manipulation of Preedy and the equally invidious news-hounding of Hooper is Alice Rodker, seduced by Preedy as a child and now threatening to denounce him.

Lady Rideout, the newspaper magnate, needs Preedy not only to swell sales of her newspaper but also, she believes, to save her life.

Cary’s last novel examines the ability to make people believe, whether through bogus religious fervour or sensational mass-media, and shows that both have a great potential for evil.


“There is no need to say that everyone who reads novels should read Joyce Cary’s last book, everyone will.”


“The Captive and the Free emerges as one of Cary’s most serious and memorable books. This book confirms his stature as a writer of the highest moral intelligence.”

The Scotsman

“The grandeur of Cary’s vision cannot be denied. And in this book, written in such heroic circumstances, his grasp of technique is still astonishing.”

New Statesman

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