The fell hours of dark"" pervade this intense novel of Madrid at the time of its betrayal and mortification. Without resorting to didactics, James Norman reveals the forces like that coiled in confusion about the Spanish state and, in 1939, strangled the city of Madrid. There is the venerable intellectual, keenly aware of Spain in context of the Flamenco spirit, a spirit totally alone, totally outcast from God- Don Louis, lucid to the end, but too absorbed by his vision to effectually save himself or his country. There is his daughter, a communist, and her frightened husband who loves her but must kill her in order to escape from the web of Spanish conflict. There is Don Louis' son, a fine soldier, a man as incisive in action as his father is in thought. And there is the woman who loves him, and who dies in the streets, a victim of the violence her father secretly condones. And there is Spain, untranslatable, evocative as the ""ay-y-y"" of a gypsy lament. This is a swift and absorbing novel written with finesse and passion. The Fell of Dark is like a lucid nightmare from which one awakens to find no light, no relief.