Skip to Main Content

The Fiery Pantheon

A Novel

Acclaimed for her "gleeful and contagious love of language" (Los Angeles Times), Nancy Lemann evokes the tattered glamour of fading traditional Southern society like no other writer. Now she introduces the aristocratic Stewart clan of New Orleans, in particular, the self-effacing Grace, who is vacationing with her family at a rambling old resort in Virginia and mulling over her recent engagement to Monroe Collier, her ideal Southern gentleman. When she spots the crazed but brilliant Walter, she pegs him as a likely candidate for a nervous breakdown, but he determinedly attaches himself to Grace and begins to work his charms on her.
Will Grace remain true to laconic Monroe and the ideals of her homeland or will she fall for the strangely charismatic Walter? Who will gain entry into the Fiery Pantheon, Grace's personal gallery of beloved and honored heroes? In the tradition of Evelyn Waugh and Walker Percy, The Fiery Pantheon is a witty and rapturous novel about the weight of past glory, the attachment to place, and the love of a man.

The Boston Globe A New Orleans version of Jane Austen.

Entertainment Weekly Lemann's writing -- at once wry and sumptuous -- will glue you to your chair with the intoxicating effect of a mint julep on a sultry summer day.

Julia Reed The New York Times Book Review Seductive...The Fiery Pantheon is a lovely, lyrical work of fiction.

Mary Kay Zuravleff The Washington Post Book World Delightful...your resistence proves futile. Good thing, because once you surrender, you can accompany this accomplished, generous storyteller on a trip around the world. Ultimately, stand in awe as Nancy Lemann asks where in the world is home and then arrives at an answer as satisfying as it is tender.

The Times-Picayune A perfect barometer of the Southern soul.

Chicago Tribune This is Lemann at her witty best, showing us the quirky mannerisms beneath the manners and leading us through a world that through its exaggerated gestures, reveals both the charms and danger of our own.

Elle Nancy Lemann's baroque voice channels the elegant phrasing of another era; playful stateliness ensues. As the Stewart family leaves a famed resort in Virginia for an episodic tour of the splendid ruined cities of the Ottoman Empire, one hears beneath the author's stylized nostalgia a genuine nostalgia -- for home, for honor, for romance with "dash."

Vogue Another gorgeous winner from Lemann.

Amy Hempel Nancy Lemann has so many gifts as a writer it feels odd to point first to her generous heart. But that is where it all begins: the romanticism, the affectionate humor, the elegant locutions that echo another era, and, of course, her ceaseless devotion to the South.

Anniston Star What makes The Fiery Pantheon such a pleasure is Nancy Lemann's fey, delightful writing, as nonsensical as it is precise, full of the unexpected turn of phrase and as incantatory as light verse.