This novel will be assessed fairly widely on three (or more) levels, and actually the three are never fully integrated. (a) As a family story, there is the slender thread of the pervasive heritage of craftsmanship, suggested but never fully realized. The central character is Joshua Grunewald, master silversmith, who yearns to have one of his sons with him to carry on the family genius. (b) As a dual romance:- Joshua's youthful passion for the bond maid, juditha, his shouldering the blame and responsibility of his brother's sin and marrying her, accepting her unborn child as his own -- and fathering a brood himself; and his mature love for Kathy Jamiesen- and the troubled path of romance. (c) Philadelphia, and its environs, first with the torn loyalties of the British occupation, then the rugged days of the young country- and Philadelphia its capital- and finally (and this I venture will be what marks the book for what distinction it merits-) a grim picture of the yellow fever epidemic, of Benjamin Rush and his dedicated service, of Stephen Girard and the beginnings of his hospital, of panic in a devastated city as family after family is destroyed. Here are the three, woven together by an all-obsessive pattern of jealousy- but never wholly realized. The book is overlong and would have benefited immensely by some drastic pruning.