A stirring and timely historical novel backgrounded by the bloody pioneer days in Algeria, back in 1837. With Algeria today a hostile land in which the natives and the French- who have been there for 125 years- are torn by dissension, this picture of the Vermorel family, and of how they converted raw and unproductive acres into successfully bearing a harvest of wine grapes makes absorbing reading. The earlier settlers were idealists, willing to cope with murdering tribes, with drought and plague and locusts and disease, but the Red Fountain would not have survived had it not been for Francesca, the Spanish wife of Simon, who died at the hands of the attacking Arabs. Francesca was a dictator, a matriarch of the old order, dedicated to the land and demanding sacrifice of her sons and daughters. This is a family saga, vividly recapturing the feel and spirit of the old Algeria, bringing the story up to the third generation, and providing a depth of understanding of the factors of which we are only intellectually aware in turbulent Algeria today. Though the romance is somewhat synthetic, the impact of the mood and pace of the setting and the conflict throughout these years carries the thinner love story.