A distinctly superior historical novel which seems to consider itself in competition with War and Peace. It is the story of the Franco-Prussian War with which Bismarck put Germany on the map, as seen through the eyes of various high-born acquaintances, relatives, and lovers of Baroness Anna Marie Theresa von Falkenhorst. She spends her time in eastern Silesia fixing up her new home and sleeping with the younger brother of the dashing but forbidding lieutenant who left her sometime between the wedding breakfast and bed to go to fight for the glory of his country. He predictably learns much about the horrors of his profession in the first European war in which guerrilla activity and reprisals against civilians played a significant part; the tough and rather liberated Tessa learns the joys and sorrows of the various kinds of love; and the reader receives an excellent account of tactics, strategy, and the feel of a battlefield in clear and alive descriptions of military maneuvers and encounters. This is a fine book by the author of The Bedford Incident, The Flight of the Dancing Bear, and The Eagle and His Egg; we still have not learned its lessons.