The Three Legions in 1956 introduced a significant new writer. This novel, while liking is a word one could not apply to it, is still significant, though disturbing. Where the first book dealt with the subject of defeat -- this handles, in a penetrating and original way, the subject of man's own recognition of failure. Where the earlier book was set in the period of the march of the power of Rome- this is backgrounded by the conflict within the mind of a Soviet hero over his rejection of what Communism has come to stand for in loss of freedom. He is a much decorated captain; and Security is trying to find the weakness in his armor. But the Marshall wants him on his staff- and the steps of the hierarchy are set in motion to achieve this on the one hand, to block it on the other. One sees the absurdities, the cruelties, the viciousness, the single-mindedness, the stupidity, the confused loyalties, as the main characters play out their little scenes. Andrej, the Captain, ultimately succeeds in his bold gesture, and taken his company out of the manoeuvres and over the line into West Germany- and asylum. But the cost is one he will bear to his grave- and the meaninglessness of sacrifice will remain to torture him. Not easy reading, nor as palatable a picture as one might wish. There are too many questions unanswered. But it has something of All Quiet on the Western Front in its end impression and impact.