In Honour Bound

Nina Bawden

15 November 2012
266 pages


In Honour Bound is the exciting and very tautly written story of a hero who fell, not among thieves, but among his own friends. Johnny Prothero has everything. He was brought up in the closed, bright world of influence and wealth, and nourished on the old-fashioned virtues of duty, loyalty and courage. Up to the grim point at which this story opens, his life has perfectly suited him. He has had a splendid war, has made a good marriage, and his future seems laid out invitingly before him like a clean map—yet, in the first scene of this book, he is standing in the dock accused of an ignominious crime. Is it Johnny or the times that are out of joint?

This is a penetrating and gripping study of a man who had everything except the ability to grub in the squalid backyard of the 1950s; a study of the damage a man does to himself and to others in the struggle to adapt himself to a post-war, expense-account world for which his upbringing has not fitted him. The story, with its wide range of characters and varied scenes in London and the home counties, is exceptionally well developed and mounts steadily in interest and tension to a superbly ironical conclusion.