The Waters Of Babylon ($24.00; Apr.; 320 pp.; 0-684-86210-7): This diligent and generally quite compelling first novel, written by a successful scriptwriter for feature films (Breaker Morant, etc.) and television, fictionalizes the military and psychosexual adventures of—as its subtitle declares—"Lawrence After Arabia.'' Stevens stresses the various identities the elusive ``Ned'' (1888-1935) compulsively adopted (as ``Shaw,'' ``Ross,'' and in various Arabic guises), while doggedly tracing the sources of this scholarly adventurer's rootlessness, pansexual mood swings, and masochism to a hysterically repressive (and repressed) mother and years of soldiering and espionage during which his true sexual nature emerged and became the center of his being.
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