The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

The Wind Eye is the second published book by Robert Westall, and it received marginal recognition. It followed his first, highly acclaimed book, The Machine-Gunners (1975), which won the Carnegie Medal in Britain. In The Wind Eye, Professor Bertrand Studdard announces to his family that they will be vacationing at his deceased uncle’s resort villa on England’s remote Northumberland coast. His wife, Madeleine, protests, her display establishing the spousal friction portrayed throughout the remainder of the novel. Michael, Madeleine’s son, is the oldest of the three children in the family. He helps guide Bertrand’s two daughters, Beth and little Sally, through the confusion of bickering parents.

Madeleine insists on driving her own car to the coast. Along the way, the family convenes for lunch in the small coastal town of Durham. They learn of the pervasiveness of Saint Cuthbert, a patron saint of the Dark Ages who is described as pious, gentle, a lover of animals, protective, somewhat mischievous, and having no fondness for women.

Finally reaching the uncle’s decrepit home, named Monk’s Heugh, they settle in. At night, the children find strange items in their room—a stuffed seal, a old loaf of bread, worn boots, and a note, presumably from Uncle Henry, about a hospitium—a “guest” home reserved for visitors on Inner Farne Island. In the morning, they find a sturdy boat, the name Resurre...

(The entire section is 483 words.)