There's been a long wait for a new novel from the author of The Long Night and this one is a surprise, for it bears no resemblance to the earlier book. It is a tragic and grim and sadistic record of an unsavoury slice of American exploration, the story of De Soto's ill-starred trip to Florida, which took him beyond the country he sought to through Georgia, Albama, Mississippi to the great river, where he was killed, and hurled beneath its waters to conceal his death from the hostile Indians. Gory and horrible picture of the deeds done in the name of Christianity. The story centers around Jovar, one of his lieutenants, demoted because of his betrayal of a ward of De soto's in Cubs, later involved emotionally with an Indian girl, and constantly striving, by deeds of exaggerated valor, to have himself reenstated. The style is studiedly old style, ponderous, and the content harrowingly detailed. I confess that I found it distasteful reading. It left a bad taste in the mouth.