Petitclerc has written a semi-tragic novel; however it never manages to rise above pathos. Its situation is reasonably original and revolves around a physically powerful old septuagenarian, once the biggest wheel in Santa Lucia, California, who owns a magnificent stable of eight horses right in the middle of town. However it conflicts with zoning ordinances, fire laws, health laws, automobiles, and it is an eyesore to the town Babbitts. Mark Chamberlain resists all efforts to get rid of his stable and he also midly courts a childhood sweetheart, a bedridden widow who has buried four husbands. Mark is also a widower whose father shot himself in the head. This portends that Mark might follow suit (and the novel is dedicated to Hemingway, the author's personal friend). Mark's fatal flaw is pride, but as the plot grinds him down legally and economically, his pride does not waver even though his horses finally wind up at the knacker's, and his dying beloved commits suicide... All the characterizations are two-dimensional, and can't support the weight they are intended to carry.