Blankfort- up to now generally considered merely a popular fiction writer, has come into his own in both substance and manner with this moving historical novel. The period is the years leading up to the wresting of Palestine from the Turkish control of centuries -- and the story culminates with the capture of Jerusalem, shortly after the Balfour Declaration had planted new hope in Jewish hearts. The focus is on the NILI, a secret organization of Jewish patriots, dedicated-even to death- to goals that the greater numbers of more pacifistic Jews deplored and distrusted. Based on actual facts and records, with the main characters finding their prototypes in real people, this carries a sense of passionate belief, of dreams of the homeland to be won, of conflicting emotions that make the people live in its pages. In many ways, while dealing with a period outside the experience of present day readers, this has much of the drive of Exodus -- and linked with the story of Exodus provides a certain continuity of reassessment of the price the Jews have paid in a half century to win their dream of Israel.