This roman a clef relates the other side of the Luis Miguel Dominguin versus Antonio Ordonez bullfighting competition which Hemingway reported for Life magazine in The Dangerous Summer. Hemingway favored Ordonez. Viertel favours Luis Miguel, to whom the novel is dedicated. Viertel has improved enormously as a novelist, now using enser style than before and probing his characters brilliantly. The story is told through the eyes of a novelist named Belden, who accompanies a millionaire bullfighter, uan Ramon Vasquez, on a summer series of fights The aging Vasquez is harassed by the figure of youthful Fermin Ortega, with whom he is often matched and whom he finally acknowledges as his successor. The summer comes to a climax at Bilbao (as did Hemingway's reportage) when Vasquez receives a second major wound that season and rtega wins the crowd. Vasquez and Ortega are drawn in the round with several minor characters as real as your thumb. A bright, sad book, this displays the daily grit of bullfighting better than any novel in some years.