This stands on its own, but is actually a next generation sequel to The Golden Road (published July, 1951- reviewed P. 367 last year) -- and is again a story of Panama, at the time when the French venture in building a canal had failed and Congress was bedeviled with claims on one side for a Nicaraguan route, on the other for a Panamanian route, and within these advocates a split over the type of canal- sea level vs lock type. Stewart of the earlier book was grandfather of Adam of this book, - Wes Adam sent down to do a preliminary survey and report on his findings. Wes and his co-worker, Ericson, find themselves caught by the pull of the tropics-and eventually both are back there, Ericson, who has gone native-and worse- and Wes, connected with project in its final decision, -Panama and a lock type canal. One lives through months of politics and personalities, the thorny road to decision, the induced revolution that severed the Gordian knot of the time clause, the heartbreak of disease (slowly conquered)-of landslides and floods. And against this well-handled background is told the story of the break-up of Wes Adam's marriage, of his love for Anne shattered by the information that she had Negro blood; of Ericson's rehabilitation; of Lance, rescued from vagrancy; and of the solving of the mystery of old man Perrigot's golden hoard. The story at times seems contrived and melodramtic; of the earth earthy; unpalatable for some. But the background is valuable -- supplementing, for instance, the material in Chidsey's Panama Passage (Doubleday 1946), for an unhackneyed bit of engineering history.