THE SEA EAGLE by James Aldridge


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The content of this new novel by the author of Signed With Their Honour is fresh, new revealing; its manner seems to me studied, artificial, imitative. There are echoes of Homer in phraseology -- the recurrent use of descriptive phrases in identifying characters, -- ""the round one"" ""the dark hair"" ""the red hair"". There are echoes of Certrude Stein in the beat of repetition. There is something of Hemingway, as he tries to catch the flavor of the peasant speech, as though the text had been translated from the vernacular of Cretan folk language. It seems derivative, unspontaneous, unreal -- and one does not lose that sense as the story itself advances. It is a tale of the ""junior Inglisi"" (Australians) hiding out in the mountains after the south coast evacuation is abandoned. It is a story of their attempt to join forces with other English soldiers, of the aid given by the Cretans and the Greeks, poor and terror ridden as they were, of German punishment to all who so aided, of guerrilla cave hospitals, of internal strife between fascist Metaxists and anti-metaxists, of the misconception of the allies, in arming the Metaxists. And of a handful of main characters, -- Burke, the Australian, Stone, ""the red one"", Nisus, the Greek guide, and ""the sea eagle"", Madzi Michali, who enlists the English in freeing prisoners of the Metaxists, and -- dying -- gives the English aid in escaping. Disappointing, to all who felt that Signed With Their Honour introduced a new talent.

Pub Date: Feb. 9th, 1943
Publisher: Little, Brown