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Raymond Williams

The Volunteers

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Foreword by Kim Howells

Power and politics corrupt... this is the future.

A worker is killed in the striking coalfields of south Wales. Some months later a government minister suspected of being connected with the death is shot.

Lewis Redfern, once a radical, now a political analyst and journalist, pursues the killer, a lonely hunt that leads him through a maze of government leaks and international politics to a secret organisation: a source of insurrection far more powerful than anyone could have suspected – the world of the Volunteers.

A compelling thriller, The Volunteers is also an engrossing reminder of the conflict between moral choice and political loyalty, for through his obsessive pursuit of justice Redfern finally encounters the truth about himself.

‘Every reader of The Volunteers can testify to its power and pace as a detective thriller.’ – Tony Pinkey

Raymond Williams was born in the Welsh border village of Pandy in 1921. He was educated at Abergavenny Grammar School and at Trinity College, Cambridge and he served in the Second World War as a Captain in the 21st Anti-Tank Regiment, Royal Artillery. After the war he began an influential career in education with the Extra Mural Department at Oxford University. His life-long concern with the interface between social development and cultural process marked him out as one of the most perceptive and influential intellectual figures of his generation.

He returned to Cambridge as a Lecturer in 1961 and was appointed its first Professor of Drama in 1974. His best-known publications include Culture and Society (1958), The Long Revolution (1961), The Country and the City (1973), Keywords (1976) and Marxism and Literature (1977).

Raymond Williams was an acclaimed cultural critic and commentator but he considered all of his writing, including fiction, to be connected. Border Country (1960) was the first of a trilogy of novels with a predominantly Welsh theme or setting, and his engagement with Wales continued in the political thriller The Volunteers (1978), Loyalties (1985) and the massive two-volume People of the Black Mountains (1988-90). He died in 1988.