The title story takes place on an island off the coast of Naples, where a decaying monastery casts its shadow over the timeless, isolated world. A gifted young stonemason loses his sight and his senses in a mysterious, grisly accident, an accident that deeply affects the lives of his fiancee, the priest who buries her stillborn child, and the few monks left in the old monastery. "The Tower" tells a haunting story-within-a-story of a leper in the eighteenth century confined to the "Tower of Fright," where he lives in anguish and unbearable solitude. his story, with its parallel in modern times, is that of the capacity of the human spirit to rise above suffering and alienation. The final tale, "The Second Coming," is set in the medieval city of Orvieto during the Black Death, a time when the terror-stricken people craving miracles can easily turn violent against a wandering stranger tormented by doubts about redemption and faith; but his suffering and death have lasting repercussions for the ailing Pope Urban IV. With his passionate, deeply affecting prose and timeless stories, Gustaw Herling has that rare vision that prompts critics like Peter Levi to call him "one of the greatest European writers."
...[A]ny reader approaching these stories will find a timeless world like no other....he probes with thrilling delicacy the infinite and eternal consequences of human decisions and intentions (1993).