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Journalist turned novelist -- with the shortcomings almost inevitably attendant on that transmogrification,- an overwhelming desire to include a vast amount of background knowledge, as soundtrack for the march of events, with the result that characters and plot bog down in massed detail. This novel is no exception. It lacks even the selectivity that might serve to sharpen outlines of the story. Written tightly, with no transitions to carry over the breaks from one group of persons to another, and with a huge cast of characters,- Greek (with difficult names and yet more difficult political affiliations), British, American, Russian, even Turkish and Hungarian,- it seems- to this reader- to result in confusion worse confounded. The slender threads of plot, if such they can be called, concern a central core of characters,- McPhail, the American, who eventually marries his Greek mistress; Walker, Britisher, who plays about, not allowing himself too deep an involvement; several Greek girls, Nitsa and Leda chief among them; Loulides, Militiades, Ares and other Greeks, mostly with Communist affiliations, and a cynical outlook on the tangled mess of their country. Then there is the plot to get the Hungarian Folday out of the country- and in again, only to come- one assumes- under the Soviet axe at the end. The final feeling is that the Greeks are playing both British and Americans for suckers; that the British are out to secure Greece as their private pawn in a game for the east Mediterranean- at American expense; that the Russians have made a costly deal to stay out of active participation, while keeping internecine strife active and eyeing the Turks meanwhile -- and that the Dardanelles and a route to the sea provide a key to the complex web. It would take meticulously careful reading and established concern over the Greek situation to carry the reader through. It certainly wont be read for entertainment -- or easy enlightenment.

Pub Date: Sept. 19th, 1949
Publisher: Random House