The Northern Light was a stalwart survivor in the losing battle of the newspaper world, as the small town newspapers were swallowed up by the giants of the metropolis, and the standards they had sustained yielded to the yellow journalism of London. Cronin has built a somewhat contrived story around a last ditch stand made by Page, third of his family to run the Northern Light in the Northumbrian borough where five generations had lived and worked. Page had seemingly everything against him:- two journalistic tycoons were trying to force him to the wall, and in the end he was saved by the doublecrossing which lost his chief adversary the advantage a nasty piece of blackmail seemed to have won him. But in the process, Page sacrificed everything but his integrity; his wife and daughter turned against him; many of his staff deserted to his rival; the town was slow to reject the allure of the new style paper; his suppliers- his financial sources- his security collapsed. But it was when his daughter-in-law's past was raked up and exposure threatened -- and his son's slender thread of sanity became stretched too thin, that Page was forced to make the choice- only to be saved by double tragedy and the very venality of big business that he deplored. Not a tale that wins the reader's emotional acceptance- as for instance Keys of the Kingdom. It is slick reading, a time passer, but little more.