Fabricius wrote one rattling good cloak and sword romance, Son of Marietta. He has not repeated that success since. And this novel once more disappoints one. It is a story of the turn of the century, up to and through the first world war. The setting is a castle not very far from Vienna, presided over, at the start, by a soured retired army officer, a widower, at odds with the world. Then he remarries, has some years of happiness, which his temperament makes it difficult to sustain, and enjoys his young family. But with the accidental death of his youngest son, the mother's mental fibre is strained to breaking point, and the family begins to disintegrate. At the end everything is gone, and one spark of hope alone remains when the eldest daughter marries the overseer, and moves to the farmhouse. There is no particular focus to the story; the characters are unappealing; the picture of Austria is more or less symbolized in the story of the family.