Another prissy and laborious reconstruction of spying, seafaring and diplomacy akin to the author's Jonathan Dearborn (1967). Mr. Wallace obviously researched this down to the last naval history, apparently leaving little energy for the requirements of fiction. Scott Pettigrew, routed to the office of Mr. Gideon Welles, Lincoln's Secretary of the Navy, is sent on all sorts of missions as a spy with orders to keep his eyes open. While the reader's gently close, Scott's stony lenses report action in Liverpool as he snoops around a Confederate-sponsored ship, later to become the Alabama, on which he signs as a seaman. Action aplenty, we hear, and then after leaving the ship Scott sleuths in Maine, learns of a Confederate plan to invade, later in France watches the engagement of the Alabama and Kearsarge, observes a draft riot in New York, and is wounded while aboard the Confederate blockade runner Challenger. Many, many discussions of the progress of the war, of real personalities with whom Scott chats like a stapling machine. There are a brace of spies that turn up everywhere, including one lady who at one point kisses Scott--on the lips. She later dies. Dull, dull, dull.