Russell Kirk is one of the chief theoreticians of Conservative thought in America today and it is politically that he is best known. His first novel, labelled ""a suspense romance"" is a melodramatic adventure story written in an old-fashioned stylized manner and with great charm. The bold and attractive hero, Hugh Logan, a lawyer, is sent to the Hebrides by his client, Duncan MacAskival, to buy the remote and unusual island of Carnglass owned by one of the few remaining MacAskivals, a dignified and ancient lady of declining means. The island is practically inaccessible, there being no usual means of communication and Hugh's mission is almost doomed from the start by some mysterious attempts on his life. He does manage to land at last on this strange outpost of the western world and discovers a very complicated situation. Old Lady MacAskival and her young heir and niece, Mary, are held captive by a band of political criminals who intend to use Carnglass as a base for destroying British missile sites. The leader of the band is a man of compounded evils, in this case, Marxism and the occult and in the end it is his own brand of madness which destroys him. With the help of the odd and beautiful Mary and a group of fishermen- poachers Logan routs the evil-doers and is destined to become master of the Castle of Fear. If one might have suspected all along that the author's villains would once again be found on the extreme left it hardly detracts from the story. Its main virtue is the very effective use Kirk makes of the stark and beautiful setting and his sustaining throughout of an impending sense of catastrophe.