A picaresque novel in which the hero is cashiered (through no fault of his own other than over zealousness in face of duty) from the regular army during the War of 1812, and serves out several years as an officer under first Bolivar, then San Martin, fighting for the freedom of the South American states. There's plenty of adventure, plenty of romance (lawful and illicit), colorful settings, dramatic history, glamorous characters -- but somehow the story as a whole lacks the quality, the depth of Next of Valor, which, in my opinion, was a second Northwest Passage. As it happens there is not much available on the War of 1812, and this none too glowing picture of its inadequacies, supplies interesting sidelights on that phase of our history. The South American episodes are interwoven with meticulous accounts of strategy and warfare, which should appeal to all who are interested in technical details. A man's book, more than a woman's.