Children of Darkness and Light

In Nicholas Mosley’s CHILDREN OF DARKNESS AND LIGHT, a philandering British journalist travels to Cumbria, England, to track down a story about a group of children, seven to thirteen years old, who have established a commune in the hills. Their leader, a girl named Gaby, had originally claimed to have been following orders given her in a vision by the Virgin Mary, but later claimed to have been lying.

The journalist, who is also the narrator, leaves his wife and young teenage son, Billy, in London. His wife, Melissa, is bitterly angry at him, and Billy allies himself with his girlfriend, Jenny, who is also on the verge of estrangement from her parents. These domestic failures nag the journalist in Cumbria, where the behavior of the children puzzles him, especially as their story is complicated by rumors of a nuclear disaster that is being covered up there.

Returning from Cumbria, the journalist goes to Yugoslavia, where with a Junior Minister from the British Foreign Office he visits a night club called The Garden of Earthly Delights. While the Junior Minister talks with a scummy warlord known commonly as “Dungbird,” the journalist chats up a red-haired woman who tells him of atrocities in a remote mountain village. On his journey to this village, the journalist catches a ride with a woman who is driving a truck full of provisions to the homeless children and who at their parting identifies herself as the Virgin Mary.