MEN LIKE SHADOWS by Dorothy Charques
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Heir, (and very apparent,) to her earlier novels (The Tramp and His Woman and Between Sleeping and Waking, published by Macmillan) is this careful chronicle of the Third Crusade of the 12th century -- not in period and time but in the insight and insistence of people and their lives. Told by John of Oversley this encompasses not only his own adventures but those of Richard the Lion Heart, Robert of Kinwarton, the French Burgundian, de Passy, Everard Mortebois, Lady Melisande des Preaux and the long file of pilgrims, esquires, archers, enemy and elements. It is a saturate of history -- of human fallibility (and the thorny road to self willed dedication) -- ""the heart's good homespun""- and a vast spectacle which is as meticulous in its chronological facts as it is in its character developments. For John, to vindicate the shadow of his father's brother, would prove himself a man of valour and honor, commits himself to the Holy War, suffers the many delays, storms and trouble en route to their fields of battle, and is by turns a craven and a valiant fool while de Passy, Robert and Everard take, lose and deny Melisande, ""too pretty a lady to suffer long for so brief a sinning"". Here too is Richard and ""the very flower of the world's spring"" as French, Turk, infidel, Assassin and internal dissolution make of this re-creation a human panel which has color, movement and a telescopic clarity. In the upper echelons of the historical and psychological patterns, this is for the discriminating.

Pub Date: April 6th, 1953
Publisher: Coward-McCann