The novelist and historian, who has devoted considerable attention to the Less of Virginia in the past, reconstructs the events and personalities of the Virginia of 1676 to 1732. Beginning with Bacon's Rebellion, that ""yeoman"" effort to unseat the power of Governor Berkeley, the author proceeds to the career of Robert ""King"" Carter, an enlightened robber baron, a ""leader of responsible government,"" a land-grabber of awesome magnitude. And yet it was his establishment of a stable and promising climate, although managed by an oligarchical hierarchy, that provided a ground for a ""machinery"" of advance which ""made Jefferson possible."" Painstakingly setting down the many political, financial and social manipulations of the King, the author presents not only a careful reconstruction of early Virginia, with its evolving caste systems, its plantations, westward expansions and ties with England, but an original view of Virginia aristocracy of the time as an evolution from a transitional Stuartian gentry-yeoman economy. A towering monument of research, not altogether relieved by rather dogged prose. Fine for serious history buffs; rugged for the casual reader.