Like Gilbert Chesterton's The Ball and the Cross, The Flying Inn is a comic fantasy almost totally forgotten today, even by Chestertonians. In view of the current explosion of Islamic fundamentalism, and the rise of terrorism against infidel nations, The Flying Inn has an eerie relevance to the Iraq war that keeps the novel from flying into complete obscurity.You can read all of "Naughts & Crescents" by Martin Gardner at The New Criterion; but you will need to subscribe or purchase the individual article to do so. (More than I have excerpted above is freely available at their website. So click to whet your appetite.)
Lord Phillip Ivywood, the novel's main character, is England's handsome, golden-voiced Prime Minister. He has come under the influence of a Turkish fanatic, Misyara Ammon, a large-nosed, black-bearded Muslim popularly known as the Prophet of the Moon. He has convinced Lord Ivywood that the Muslim faith is superior to Christianity. It is a progressive force destined to dominate the world. Ivywood has decided that Christianity and Islam should merge, with the Muslim crescent placed alongside the cross on top of London's St. Paul's Cathedral. Better yet, the cross should be abandoned for a new symbol that combines cross and crescent, perhaps called the "crosslam."
Introduction to "Hard Times"
2 days ago