A SHOW OF FORCE by Stewart Thomson


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Another outpost of empire, on which the sun has set, again attests to the decline and fall of colonial cast, and now in Maneppo, a small town on the Euphrates, and -- a deadspot except for its oil field, the old native resentments have been touched off by an agitator, Salem. Quilliam, a career consul, is blinded by his own sense of destiny- and dedication- not only to the potential of violence, but also to the ragged nerves of his wife, Marjorie, who hates Maneppo- and the fantastic Mango Castle in the heart of the native section in which Quilliam has chosen to live. Evans, the head of the oil field, finds peace at any price the economic expedient. Stratton, a former soldier, needs the violence of war and is jettisoned in peace time in his job as police commissioner. Benton, Evans' subordinate, ineffectual in his marriage as well, sets off a more decisive series of events when he strikes Salem for making a pass at his wife, is in turn murdered by his servant, and Stratton, demanding his ""show of force"", shoots his way through an angry mob and determines the inevitability of the riot which is to follow.... This sullen climate, these Englishmen now effects when up against native rebellion and reprisal, this theme of a dying rule and a dead colonial concept- are not new- Gerald Hanley has used it often-The Consul at Sunset and The Year of the Lion; but this is an intelligent and incisive demonstration.

Pub Date: July 27th, 1955
Publisher: Harper