(YA) Subtitled ""The Making of the Suez Canal, "" this is a story which begins somewhere around 600 B.C. when the Pharaoh Necho attempted the first canal to connect the Red-Sea, and thus India, with the Nile, and thus the Mediterranean and Europe. It ends, formally, in 1882, when Britain seized control of De Lesseps' accomplishment in order to ""protect her empire""; but of course the implications march on, at least as far as 1956. It is an account of plain and fancy political and financial manipulations, even more than that, it is a description of the actual work involved, but most of all it is a highly charged drama of personalities, willful, ambitious, dedicated, or just plain pig-headed, with De Lessepa himself coming in for most of the attention, as is only proper, and a host of other very colorful persons all at loggerheads in the wings. Mr. Marlowe has researched his subject beyond criticism, and for a reader already actively interested in the background to one of modern man's greatest and most troublesome physical achievements, it has all the virtues of solid comprehension and easy access to the facts. Anyone else, however, may find it overlong and prone to flattening out both factors and figures.