A good historical essay, and for Thomas Costain a new theme, traces the life of Bienville the Frenchman whose efforts saw the first successful colonization of the Mississippi Delta region. It was fifteen years after La Salle took possession of the river for France that Iberville and later his brother Blenville came to begin the serious work of settlement, and in a land whose problems were as strikingly varied as its natural beauties. Besides the task of living, of clearing for the fort at Biloxi and the town of New Orleans, the major political issues involved the shunting of Louisiana, like a lost child, between Spain and France through the machinations of John Law. But most important to Blenville was the political fate of Louisiana and he had to die in sadness, no longer able to persuade his government of the necessity to maintain it as an integral part of France. Neatly turned and with enough excitement to maintain interest.