Melodrama, sweeping the seas that Roark knows well- and lands in the handling of which he seems less adroit. Historically, the story is based in the period around the Civil War, but that, actually, is incidental as a factor; rather it is thwarted love that sends Nathaniel Hardin Shore away from his plantation home in Virginia to seek escape, forgetfulness and a fortune in Europe, in the Virginia Islands, in Haiti, in Jamaica, in the Bahamas and elsewhere. Lovely ladies capture him momentarily; his inhibitions seem non-existent. The gaming table, the gamble of gun running, of interference in political imbalance, in blockade running -- these seem his metier. A brief return to his family -- westward to Arizona and a frontier where his brother and his wife- the girl they both love- are stationed- seems unreal and out of character. Roark has overstepped the boundaries of probability in cramming one young life with all the perils and adventures Shore is heir to (for he continually patterns himself after the pirate ancestor for whom he was named, seeking to rival his perilous life). Frankly, the surfeit is boring- and interest flags. Stick to the sea, Mr. Roark.