This is Putnam's headliner among newcomers. Allen Tate may be a newcomer as a novelist, but his writing shows the results of years of experience in various fields of writing, he is no novice with the pen. He shows himself too as a thorough student of the Civil War -- where his previous writing has been along biographical and critical lines, he has adapted his understanding of underlying motives to the needs of fiction, and given the sense of conflict an authenticity that enhances the drama. There is vitality and robustness in the picture of the life, with its chivalry, its conflicting codes of morals and accepted digressions, its social standards, its loyalties. The vast canvas of a family with all its ramifications and the community background of Georgetown, Alexandria, Washington -- before and at the start of the war. The form in which the story is told gives it a unique character; though at times it seems confusing, bit by bit the pieces fall into place, as after events clarify the past for young Lacey Buchan, through whose eyes the story is enacted. One dominant figure emerges, George Posey, fascinating, somehow a trifle sinister, egotistic, loving power, generous, hot-headed, a rebel against the dictates of his caste and his times. It is a tragic story -- tense with currents of animosity and conflict restrained -- and it holds the interest even when it is not wholly clear...The publishers plan an extensive promotion campaign, -- giant books, posters, envelope stickers, paper books. This is one of the books included in the plans for a letter contest among booksellers. Write Putnam for particulars.