'I do not know that one ought to be surprised at anything.'
The Duke of Omnium is overwhelmed by the death of his vivacious wife, Lady Glencora. Once the British Prime Minister, he is now in sole charge of his three wilful children. Lord Gerald has been sent down from University; Lord Silverbridge has defected from the Liberal cause of his father's party to the Conservative, and is badly in debt; Lady Mary has fallen in love with Frank Tregear, a commoner with a will of iron but no money. The Duke, troubled and without easy relationships with any of
his children, tries to impose his own will. But the result seems to move the novel towards calamity.
Searching the great topics of compromise and principle, of obedience and dissent, of personal integrity and the conflicts between generations, The Duke's Children is a domestic story with far-reaching political issues at stake. It is a fitting end to the Palliser series, one of the most remarkable achievements of British fiction.
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