THE BIG DRUM by Elizabeth Boatwright Coker


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A new novel (The Day of the Peacock, India Allan, etc.) is not too indebted to fact- although it moves from 17th century England to the new world to follow Simon Blake, the protege of Christopher Wren. First sent to Barbados, he falls in love with the seventeen year old Susannah, niece of the malevolent Raven-who will try to dispose of Susannah but who will die- leaving Susannah under the suspicion of her murder. Simon moves on to Carolina to build a new town and to face the dangers of the wilderness, the Indians, and particularly a Lord Ashley and his collaborator, Leppard- who plan to kill him once his work is done. Susannah finally joins him there, and Simon is taken captive and destined to be burnt alive, but Ashley and Leppard are the deserved victims of their evil intentions and Simon is returned to England- with Susannah..... Even if the tropical setting here- heavily scented with frangipiani and jasmine- is lushly colorful- the characters still come through only in black and white and their turbulent experiences remain amazingly unreal. Rentals possibly, reprints more likely.

Pub Date: May 3rd, 1957
Publisher: Dutton