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The Cage and the Cross   -  Humphrey Muller


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in USA

UK Price: £10.27        US Price: $11.95   
 Size: 6 x 9

Format: Paperback    Published by Writers Club Press                                                       
Pages: 192
ISBN: 0-595-09806-1

A Christian novel of salvation based on an actual person, a prisoner in Pretoria Central Prison who committed suicide in 1975.


Like James Joyce's character, Stephen Daedalus, Denton searches deeply into his soul, seeking to communicate and understand the consciousness of his race. Questioning his reason for living, Denton preaches the Gospel to prisoners in Pretoria Central Prison. The author's blending of narrative and stream of consciousness, interspersed with poetic epiphany, captures the complex climate of Denton's spiritual journey. The author writes on a high, dramatic level, never in danger of losing the tension of a conflict that leads his character away from a fundamentalist belief in Christian doctrine to a wider acceptance of Christ and salvation through grace.

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The Cage and the Cross is primarily a Christian novel set during the South African apartheid years of the seventies. It is also intended to be a bildungsroman and a work of literary merit with its implicit use of interior monologue or the stream of consciousness in the first-person narration.

Harry Dempster  visits a prison to convert prisoners and is himself converted by his own preaching. Gradually, through a wider Christian experience of salvation, he is able to break away from the legalistic-doctrinal shackles of his sectarian Christianity. The dramatic impulse of the story is the conflict between law and freedom, guilt and grace, the power of sin and the power of Christ, centred within the protagonist’s consciousness. In the penultimate chapter (Ch. 9: ‘The Cross’) Dempster surrenders himself to the inflowing power of the Holy Spirit.

An equally important character is Petrus Engelen, the converted prisoner who, shortly after being released from prison, commits suicide. The final chapter in which Dempster presides over his funeral raises the importance of the Christian message of salvation through grace rather than through doctrine and obedience. The Epilogue, in the form of a weird dream scenario where the protagonist and deceased prisoner meet again in a timeless zone, offers a more detached if not ironic perspective to the characters and themes.

Throughout the novel, there are biblical and literary allusions. In the first chapter (‘The Prison’), for example, the ‘scene’ which depicts the protagonist with the three prisoners might echo Satan’s speech to the fallen angels in Milton’s Paradise Lost, as well as the transfiguration of Christ (witnessed by the three disciples Peter, James and John). The dramatis personae bear the names of the twelve apostles. In chapter seven (‘The Road’) there is an echo of Jesus’s parable of the clean house and the seven devils.

The speech and writing of the prison characters are couched in the local South African idiom: the mother-tongue interference is part and parcel of the ungrammatical and idiomatic English of the working-class Afrikaans-speaking South Africans of the time.

The novel presents a dramatisation of a Christian debate. It’s a book that might be enjoyed by adherents of Christian fundamental sects or churches  who feel a need to explore a wider or fuller Christian experience, where Grace and a Baptism in the Spirit take supremacy over fundamental laws and doctrines. Or it might be of interest to those contemplating a move towards Christian fundamentalism. This is elucidated more fully in the Introduction.

(Total words in the novel: 59,800)                       (Copyright © Charles Muller 2000)


  • Extract from a letter by Ernest Pereira,   formerly Professor of English at the University of South Africa:

Within the framework of what I call, for want of a better appellation, the philosophical novel, you've created a giant of a character in Dr Dempster. Like James Joyce's character, Stephen Daedalus, Dempster searches deeply into his soul, attempting to discover the meaning of his existence. Sometimes wandering, always questioning his reason for living, Dempster seeks to communicate and understand the consciousness of his race. A character such as Dr Dempster is the key to an absorbingly intelligent novel.

While I was reading the manuscript, the thought kept recurring that here was the work of a sophisticated stylist. Your blending of narrative and stream of consciousness, interspersed with poetic epiphany, captures the complex climate of Dempster's spiritual journey. You write on a high, dramatic level, never in danger of losing the tension of the situation.  

The Surprise of my Life!, June 29, 2002
Reviewer: I.B.L. from Rochester N.H.

The Surprise of my life!

I held this book in my hand and read the title, "The Cage And The Cross".
I said oh boy, I wonder what this one is about? So I guessed, maybe this or maybe that. This book was written by Charles Humphrey Muller. I defiantly wanted this book because I so enjoyed his others.

I sat down and started to read; well let me tell you that I got the surprise of my life. Nothing that I thought it would be like... I was relieved, glad, sad and upset to where it was happening. I knew then to what the Cage was and anxious to read about the Cross. What we believe here in the US is the same as what they believe across the ocean. To name a few things, life, love and worship... As for worship it has to be what makes you more in the faith. You can't tell them that they are wrong and they can't tell you that you are wrong either, the bible says it all.

I was in this book very deeply and being involved in a strange way of life. I've been there done that--writing so many letters and receiving as many back.

This is a very well written story that will help you decide what path you will have chosen for your life.

Mr. Muller, I have enjoyed every single book of yours that I have read and hope that you write many more!

God Speaks To Those Who Listen!, June 29, 2002
Reviewer: Emelia Hardy from Dover, N.H. United States

God Speaks To Those Who Listen!

If you close your eye's, ears and your heart, you will never know what God has in store for you, for you won't be able to see what He wants you to see, you won't be able to hear when He speaks to you and you won't be able to feel God's love in your heart.

This author, Charles Humphrey Muller, makes you sit up and take notice, he lets you know that you don't have to stay in your hum-drum everyday routine. Just because every one else says it's the only way, doesn't make it so.

This is an author that is very much in touch with his own feelings and has been able to transfer these feelings over to the reader... What a remarkable talent God has blessed this man with...

Charles H. Muller has a way of taking the reader, you and I to different levels of time and you never notice it until he brings you back to the present. You sit back and say Wow! because you never knew you left!

Once again I have given this author 5 stars and I'll tell you why...

Each one of his books is a 5 star in it's own right... each one very different from the other, each a 5 star for different reasons... ( though one of his books that I can think of off hand, "A Twist in Time", should be no less then a 10 star!).  I have read 5 of his books now and have enjoyed each and every one of them. His books have touched me in many different ways and I plan on getting more of his books and you will again hear from me...

The book 'The Cage and The Cross' is an elegant book.. .it's soft and loving to God.. It's strong on finding the True God!...

It shows the courage of a man willing to give his time to the less fortunate of men, the men in prison.

The character Harry is preaching things that he himself has a hard time to believe. Too many set rules that don't amount to anything!  Harry needs more then what is at hand... He realizes that you really can have a personnel relationship with God and he finds himself with having to move on to have just that--a personal relationship with God!

This is a very good story; the things that were said that were taken out of the bible and sometimes put into his own words were beautifully written and one can't help but think that maybe the author has had some kind of real connection with preaching himself?... one can only wonder....
God Bless You Mr. Muller.