Email this review


Next to Valour was ""scooped"" by Northwest Passage, though in many ways it was a better book, and should have been sold as dovetailing into that story with but little overlapping. Call the New World treated of a phase of history from a new angle-South America's struggle for independence, close on the heels of our own. Now comes Gentleman Ranker -- again an historical novel with a muticulously detailed handling of a segment of history previously slighted, -- the ill fated Braddock's expedition and its aftermath. Jennings is a good scholar -- his details show the result of careful and imaginative use of authentic material. But he still needs to learn the use of the blue pencil, his novels seem overburdened and his plots have periods of sagging which weary the reader. Much of this I liked. Young Stephen Trent grows through his experience as a private tricked into his majesty's forces just as the expedition is about to sell. He makes enemies and friends along the way. He finds himself man enough to stand the appalling regime of the military in those days, the cruelty, the inhumanity, the opportunity for petty spite. He rescues a girl in distress -- and later marries her. The expedition ends in defeat and rout -- but the wars go on, and ultimately Stephen is taken captive by the Indians, escapes, and comes back to find his wife and children safe --and his friends reunited. A good substantial meaty historical novel, which might have been a better one.

Pub Date: Aug. 21st, 1942
Publisher: Reynal & Hitchcock