God's Fifth Column is the last book of William Gerhardie. Well known in the 1920s and 1930s chiefly as a novelist (whose books were admired by Arnold Bennett, Graham Greene, Evelyn Waugh and others), Gerhardie fell mysteriously silent at the beginning of the Second World War and did not publish another book during the remaining thirty-seven years of his life.
After his death the manuscript of this ambitious and unusual book was discovered among his papers and was skilfully edited for publication by Michael Holroyd and Robert Skidedlsky.
The novel itself is a biography of the age, 1890-1940, through which Gerhardie lived. For Gerhardie, it was the artists rather than orthodox historians, the men of imagination rather than of will, who were the true spokesmen for mankind; and it is through the artist's vision and the writer's use of language that he tries to bring the age into moral perspective. God's Fifth Column is one of the most remarkable works of this gifted writer.