POMP AND CIRCUMSTANCE by Fred Mustard Stewart


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 One of Stewart's (Ellis Island, 1982; The Glitter and the Gold, 1989) most knock-kneed and sway-backed entries in the supermarket-checkout paperback-rack stakes. This whopper takes place in England, America, and India in the mid-19th century and involves lifetime lovers, murders, plots, atrocities, and love and sex all around. A jumble of old pulp clichÇs. Adam Thorne and Lizzie Desmond vow as children to be faithful- -but then, later, impoverished Adam finds he's suddenly an earl, part Indian (one-eighth, to be exact), and, further, that he's expected to return the Idol's Eye (a pink diamond) to a Hindu temple. Dark deeds and derring-do ensue. In the meantime, Lizzie has inadvertently killed her horrid father in self-defense. She'll marry a sadistic Virginian, go to America, oppose slavery, and rescue the son of a slave who sacrificially kills her husband. Then it's extradition for Lizzie. She's sentenced to be hanged...but, well, Lizzie will marry twice again, and Adam will marry handsome Sybil (who, like Adam, has produced a child through adultery). Adam, now in the House of Lords, accomplishes Good Works--both during the day and slithering around at night in disguise--while both Lizzie and Adam are the targets of villains: a southern senator and a factory-owning kin-by-marriage. Lots of violence (particularly on the plantation), a kidnapping, while those High Up take an interest: the Queen, Disraeli, even the US greed-boss Jim Fisk. Salable and cheerfully awful.

Pub Date: June 26th, 1991
ISBN: 0-525-93309-3
Page count: 464pp
Publisher: Dutton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 1991


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