A new publication (for this country) of an historical trilogy by the late British novelist and critic. Described by Graham Greene as Ford's ""bravura piece"", The Fifth Queen is sure to provide a unique experience for American readers of historical novels tutored in the file card school of scholarship in which times and settings are carefully pinned together, piece by researched piece, before the predestined statement from the characters. Ford relied upon the ""authenticity"" of his impressions, and although Henry, Katherine, et al are perhaps not facsimiles of the originals, their ghosts rise with an impressive, if windy, shimmer. In an infinite series of agreeable attitudes the great historical entities converse, and like cards flipped fast to create movement, the succession of scenes creates the internalized movement of the tragedy. The characters have a pale dignity and are unforgettable -- the King padding about like a great bear: the bitterness of the Lady Mary piercing the darkness of a tiny chapel; and the calm sad utterances of Katherine as she is sucked down to doom from a Queen's crown to execution by lies and a delicate power struggle. Katherine is no passionate Anne, but a delicate consciousness, loving the age of Plutarch, hating her own. A refreshing change from the dusty archive and fluttering cape.