Here's a surprise for those who thought that Wright's last historical, I Am England (1987), took the tale of a ridge in Sussex called Furnace Green as far as it was going to go. As it tums out, ""that near and distant place"" is none other than that same freeholder's ridge, but, in book two, taken from the days of Cromwell to the dark night of WW II. Wright checks in to Furnace Green as the Lord of Riffield Manor joins King Charles in fighting the Roundheads; back at Riffield, his wife, Faith, meetsup with the stableboy she loved before her wedding, resulting in a pregnancy. One hundred years later, with Riffield sold to a family of rich London upstarts, the Dyers, Furnace Green is terrorized by smugglers--until at last a motley gang of villagers drives them out in the Bat tie of Pigpasture Wood; but violence strikes again in 1830, when a maidservant and farmer boy find themselves embroiled in popular uprisings meant to force the rich to roll back tithes; and then again in 1940, when a son of Furnace Green joins the RAF, then returns home blind, and becomes the self-appointed keeper of the community's tales. Clearly, here's history aplenty; but Furnace Green grows stale as the decades roll, and its faceless generations pass like ships in the night.