A really cynical writer can be fun if he's himself and not imitative, but a reader would have to be blind and strain like Samson between the Philistine pillars to accept Yerby's present concoction. (There is an opening disclaimer warning the reader not to ""attempt to identify Miguel Villalonga with any of the swart, pudgy little strong men who have no being, a priori in the Kantian, Hegelian sense, since we know them only a posteriori as created by those wonderful novelists, the Dostoevskis of the Public Press."" (This for a pop adventure tale?) Peter Reynolds, a New York journalist, is in the republic of Costa Verde to cover the Castro-inspired imminent overthrow of the vicious dictator Villalonga. He goes off into the rain forest to meet the Communists and ransom a priest held captive. All the Commie guerrillas talk that elaborately obscene mock-Spanish invented by Don Ernesto of the Great Swedish Literary Prize. Peter has, in fact, a body as heavily scarred with war wounds as Don Ernesto, and he speaks with the same fund of arch military detail as Robert Jordan. As the dictator's troops attack the rebels in the hills, Peter fires off roll after roll of film. Back in the capital he finds that his girl has cut her throat. But others soon arrive, fast and thick (and willing), some of whom perish sensationally as the capital topples. The flow of sadism and depravity is remarkable, the lovemaking laughable, with much less Kant than Krafft-Ebing.