A leisurely, substantial, and solidly interesting chronology of a family over a period of some fifty years- from the time in the 1880's when Feargus Alderton, a gross man, made the money and acquired the title he left grudgingly to his sons, to its dissolution some fifty years later. The central drama of the novel, a variation on the Agamemnon theme, deals with Feargus' second son, Charles, professional soldier, and his wife Clarissa, more genteel by birth and pretentious by temperament, and opens the pages here which begin with Charles' return from the war (World War I) to his sudden death. The tragedy which preceded it, the death of their daughter which turned Clarissa's disregard of her husband into a cold hatred, is slowly filled in- but the enigmatic aspect of Arthur's death is not revealed until the final chapters when it is discovered by the surviving children and becomes too great a burden for the sensitive Oswald, the youngest. The drama here is diffused- and to some extent subdued-by the many period particulars here, all of them interesting as social history if at times at the expense of the central story. This may surprise those who remember Raymond Postgate best as the author of the classic Verdict of Twelve- but it should extend his readership to include all who appreciate a varied view of England through several eras- a background matched with a solidity of character detail and some occasional interludes of warmth and wisdom. It is Postgate's most ambitious work, sustained and satisfying.