THE SCARLET PATCH by Bruce Lancaster
Kirkus Star


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I've followed Bruce Lancaster's career with keenest interest -- with concern when he didn't measure up to the best that was in him, with confidence that he would do a big novel some day, a novel with chances for big sales. This, I think, might be ""it"" -- unless the market for Civil War stories is satiated. I think it one of the best Civil War stories I have read, and it carries conviction of sound scholarship in the picture of the part played by the Rochambeau Rifles with the Army of the Potomac. The heartbreak of uncertainties and delays is there; the sense of frustration in the attitude of the commanding officer towards foreign troops he had small use for; in the disillusionment of men of ideas faced with realities and betrayals. Chiefly, it is the story of a French officer, young Baron de Morac, who worshipped the brilliant General Kearny, and who saw, with Kearny, the international significance of the cause of the Union. The story follows the Rifles to Malvern Hill, to Harrison's Landing, to Bull Run, and on to Gettysburg; it follows, too, the devious road of de Merac's romance, as ambitious Louise catches him in her enare, only to throw him aside, when- freed from the prison where Pelham had thrown him- de Merac chooses to become an American citizen. The story has extraordinary vigor in its handling of a long-drawn out campaign that had much that was static in it; there are some of the best battle scenes I have read, scenes that have the immediacy of Kantor's Long Remember, the sense of eye witness accounts. Historic figures come to life -- and many fictional ones taken on semblance of historic values. Absorbing reading, in good history, good adventure, good romance.

Pub Date: April 21st, 1947
Publisher: Little, Brown