This new novel by a very versatile writer is in a very different genre and it is a spare, modern version of the story of Samson and Delilah. As historical novels go, it is a small, dry book, a matter-of-fact account in which Samson is not myth, nor hero, but an exceptionally strong man who believed himself to be God's instrument for keeping the Philistines (modern civilization) from enslaving his people. His private war begins with his need to avenge the murder of his former wife, the Philistine Miriam. Later, married to the courtesan Delilah, he secretly destroys Philistine property, unknowingly including some of Delilah's. So in revenge, she aids in his capture and imprisonment. His blinding, death and Delilah's grief contribute to the legend although in life he had been a simple man, solitary in his war, and with few gifts of leadership beyond strength and a brute-gentle belief in his mission. Told unemotionally, this novel combines a violent story, politics and local color with a detached sense of happenings long ago.