Scratch the epic-dermis of a small town and you're liable to find Just about every tomfool ailment and blessed event known to man. This is $8.95 worth of book and it's Just kind of a shame that this turn-of-the-century sage probably won't be read by many of today's modern movers who will take one look at the solid paragraphs that run for chapters, sigh and flip the channel to catch a quickie on TV. Because it is a good book with the author playing court reporter to the town citizens, leading or otherwise. And it's a chronicle of an Arcadia that bankrupts its pastoral paradise while filling its banks with industrial gold. Ike Underwood, a hard man but ""never anything less than a Christian,"" is the pillar who has built up Paradise Falls giving it solid sense and moral tradition. But this is really the story of the worm that invades the apple, Charley Wells, a man who was aware of only two conditions in life: ""possibilities and mortality."" In ""pursuit of his greatness"" he parlays a poker hand into land...and coal...and eventually $10,000,000 worth of power. In the massive recital, the stories of subsidiary characters rise and fall like tributaries caught in a maelstrom of political intrigues, strikes, fights, sexual encounters, religious seizures and fate. Mr. Robertson writes with a subdued energy that rarely has to resolve in an exclamation point. And he's an awesome tale spinner.