Marina Warner is such a widely celebrated writer that it is a source of some wonderment that this is the first full-length study of her work. Perhaps that is because she is so hard to characterise: she is an English writer yet she has an international perspective on her country. She is a novelist who is rooted in traditional forms such as myth and fairy tale, yet who is wholly contemporary in her thinking. She celebrates the power of women to resist patriarchy, but it would be misleading to describe her as a feminist author. While her numerous works are taken seriously within the academy, she has resolutely remained an independent writer with no permanent affiliations to any university. Again, her vision is secular, yet in both her critical and creative writing she returns again and again to the idea of the sacred or supernatural. Above all, she has an equally strong sense of myth and of history, their interaction being the basis of her fiction and the focus of her scholarship. She is a wonderfully ambitious and challenging writer whose contribution is assessed through a systematic survey in Laurence Coupe's new book.