A Preview of “St. George and the Angels of Mons” through the book’s epigraphs

I have selected two epigraphs (quotations that introduce the book, setting the reader’s mind in the right direction) that will appear at the beginning of the book. One if from a most important book about the causes of the war, and its first month, “The Guns of August”, by Barbara Tuchman.

That was the Battle of Mons. As the opening British engagement of what was to become the Great War, it became endowed in retrospect with every quality of greatness and was given a place in the British pantheon equal to the battles of Hastings and Agincourt. Legends like that of the Angels of Mons settled upon it.

 The second passage appeared in a magazine that dealt with occult subjects only a few months after the war began.

Long after the war is over, and the facts of it have been recorded in histories, one of the most widely known events will be the appearance of St. George and angel-warriors fighting in defence (sic) of the British during the retreat from Mons. We say ‘know’ because posterity will ‘know’ that the guardian Saint came down. People ‘know’ it already. The papers are full of it and testimony pours in from all sides.

Harold Bigbie, “On the Side of the Angels”, 1915.

These should give you a hint of where the Angels of Mons stand in the history of the war. The novel is based on this legend.