The first book I was ever assigned to review for The Inquirer was Hearing Secret Harmonies, the concluding volume of Anthony Powell's A Dance to the Music of Time. I had not, however, read any of the previous volumes, so I set about reading all of them before getting down to the volume up for review. I was very impressed. I still remember the time as one of my happiest reading experiences, and I still think the series is a very great achievement. I read the Sword of Honor trilogy much later, and I think it is a masterpiece. There is a melancholy insight into the age that, it seems to me, has proved prophetic.