Continuing his series about the sore and fatal trials of modern Serbia, CÃ³sic (Reach to Eternity, A Time of Death) has now come to 1915. The Allies' pressure on the Serbian prime minister, Pasic, to give up Serbia's south to the Bulgarians (and a slice to the Italians, too) is refused after much governmental debate--a debate during which philosopher/parliamentarian Vakusin Katic is reviled and ostracized because he sees this distasteful land-surrender as the only way to avert disaster. So the Germans promptly help the Bulgarians to attack Serbia: the carnage is immediate, fearsome. And again CÃ³sic shows that he has an eye for the dreadful panorama: a funeral in Belgrade is bombed; the citizens of decimated Nis prepare to greet Allied troops that have no intention of ever arriving; starved horses--having borne troops and civilians across Albania in retreat, to the Sea's edge in hopes of Allied rescue boats--charge their masters. But, in this third of CÃ³sic's series, it is less wide-angle horror that he fastens onto than a tragic clutch of personalities: Pasic the prime minister, Putnik the general, Peter the king, Katic, and Bogdan Dragovic--a court-martialed soldier whose convict battalion fights bravely to the very end. Most of these men trust too long and too late--yet their agonies are made remarkably vivid. And though this continuing story is one of sheer woe--the destruction, the disappearance of a whole small country--CÃ³sics novels, as broadly pictorial as they are psychologically specific, make it all not just pitiful but also stirring. Patriotic literature at its best.