An Indecent Obsession Author:Colleen Mc Cullough The mental ward of a military hospital on tropical Indo-Pacific island at the end of World War II is the setting for Colleen McCullough's eagerly awaited new novel. Ward X is a self-contained world for its five patients and their nurse, Honour Langtry. Not only is it physically isolated; they type of illness it harbours sets it apart from the re... more »st of the hospital. For Ward X is the "troppo" ward, its inmates soldiers who have broken under the stresses of jungle warfare.
Honour Langtry cares deeply for the five men now in her charge--the ward leader, Neil Parkinson, blind Matt Sawyer, sickly Nugget Jones, the sadistic and amoral Luce Daggett and the severely withdrawn Benedict Maynard. Each is very different from the others in background, temperment,and the nature of his problem, but all are bound together by the routine of their days and--above all--a shared and possessive devotion to their nurse. The last thing she and they anticipate or want at this late date, with the hospital soon to close, is a new admission.
And when sergeant Michael Wilson presents himself at Ward X he is instantly an unsettling presence, not only because he will upset the delicate balance of the ward but because he is so vivibly intact, a man composed and very much in charge of himself. What is michael Wilson doing here? Why is he a patient?
His papers tell honour Langtry of a violent crisis from which he obstensibly needs to recover, but it is hard to square this with the man she sees and begins to know--though not to understand. Still, after a difficult introduction the other men seem to accept him, and Michael proves to be a pleasant and helpful addition. The initial disquiet vanishes. All seems to be well.
But Honour Langtry, so dedicated and professional, so caring yet objective, does not see--cannot see--the devastating consequences of her burgeoning interest in Michael Wilson. And he, never willing it, becomes the catalyst for jealousy, violence, intrigue, conspiracy, love--and tragedy.
Colleen McCullough explores the most elemental of human emotions and the most difficult of moral dilemmas in a novel unlike any she has written before.« less