A new (The Scap A Mine of Serpents) novel which again displays a talent of exceptional control, derives from a disturbing, dualistic experience, and offers a strange and shadowed fascination. Reynard Langrish, a bank clerk previously invalided out of the army, and now suffering from a disquieting sense of unreality, is picked up one night by a Captain Archer who rather arbitrarily assumes that he will join his new battalion. Attracted to Archer who at the same time perplexes him, Langrish still goes through with his training at an old Roman camp. But later, when he goes on his own to the camp, he finds that it has been abandoned- save for a tramp. And as the time of enlistment approaches, he is ridden by a reluctance to join, haunted by a sense of defection when the date is passed. A few weeks later he is arrested as a deserter but can never contact the illusory Archer, undergoes a series of defeatingly confusing interviews, is tattooed with the ""image of a drawn sword"" and later tortured, and when he escapes- he returns to a desolate, deteriorating house where the long dead body of his mother heightens the horror which is finally capped by his unintentional murder of Archer who- when dying- persuades him to return to the unit. A fusion here of forces which have their symbolic as well as sinister application, the indirection here is countered by a perfected prose...For the discerning reader.