Household, an accomplished entertainer, has specialized in the person-to-person pursuit; here, more ambitiously, less successfully, he extends the range to the large scale political and military manoeuver. In Guayanas, an apocryphal country to the south, President Vidal, in collusion with the rich Americanos, has kept his poor on corruption cum Coca Cola. Now opposing him, Avellanas, supported by Communism and mouthing its placebos, incites a bloodless revolution. In the middle is General Miro Kucera, the mercenary, who heads the peacock-proud parading Fifth Regiment and whose only allegiance is to the constitutional legality- i.e. Vidal. Most of Household's book is concerned with some five months of a stubborn, ridiculous, costly campaign through the mud villages and scrub back country and from startling victory to surrender.... The book's interest lies in its political sophistication and parallelism and in its extensive military reconnaissance. The characters are, perhaps more appropriately than interestingly, puppets in this uppet state. And since one character asks another ""What is your private opinion of revolution?"" and is answered ""A bore"", the reader, who may have been fighting a rearguard action of his own against involvement, may well assent.