Mortal Fools


by A.N. Wilson

Viking; 287 pages; $21

In the past 15 years, Britain's A.N. Wilson has built a formidable reputation as a prolific man of letters -- 11 novels, three biographies, essays, journalism. He is brilliant, brisk, funny and morally exacting. Daughters of Albion is the last volume of a trilogy produced, with the author's characteristic vigor, a book a year.

One suspects that a considerable understanding of the British intelligentsia is necessary for a true appreciation of these works. Just reading Iris Murdoch will not do. The story involves the Lampitt family, a large clan whose money...

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