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From Guns of Burgoyne on, we've liked each thing that Bruce Lancaster has written, but always felt that he aimed a trifle higher, perhaps, than the level of wide popularity. Now in Bright to the Wanderer, he seems, without lowering his own standards, to have chosen a segment of North American history that is new, stimulating, and singularly timely in spite of its period of a century ago. Timely, because I think the interest of residents of the United States is more awake to the history and background of our neighbors to the North than at any time in our history. The story will come as a surprise to most readers, I think, for it deals with what was virtually Civil War in Upper and Lower Canada, Civil War which split families asunder, divided communities, introduced a virtual Underground Railway system for leaders and participants in revolt against dictatorship over the United States lines. The cause was the stranglehold over life, business, justice, politics and society maintained by a corrupt circle known as the Compact, ruling from Toronto. The story revolves around the Stensrood family, descendants of an ancestor who, with his little family, had escaped over the Canadian line, hoping to find liberty to pursue his life in dignity and at the same time maintain his loyalty to the Crown and the English traditions. Three generations are surviving at the time of the Compact struggle, -- some on one side, some on the other, and a grand cross section of society they present. It is an exciting story of secret planning, underground activities, farflung organization -- and, on the other side, tyranny at its worst. There is open warfare, failure, imprisonment, escape -- and reorganization to go back and rebuild, with new hope when Dominion status seems more than a dream, and reformation more than a vision of idealists. There is adventure and romance and historical fiction at its best. Good escape reading -- worthwhile.

Pub Date: May 5th, 1942
Publisher: Little, Brown