In spite of its rather tedious, sluggish and unconvincing religious overtones, this novel of how two hundred miners are trapped at Cardenrigg Pit and how they survive under almost impossible conditions, has a considerable physical impact. Taken on a level of adventure, Hanlin has done a top-drawer job in activating his plot and characters, in sustaining suspense. However, on the religious level, which concerns other-worldly Ria Kennedy, the author has watered down the Joan of Aro theme. Set in the Irish town of Whitevale in the 1920's, this manages to get across the mental and emotional pattern of miners waiting to drown as water slowly washes through the pits, of crowded hysteria among the relatives who wait above the pits, and of Rack O'Dell who attempts to save the miners by crawling through an unused tunnel in order to release the water pressure through a trap door. Ria Kennedy addresses the relatives, telling them that the miners will return and that they must have faith, makes this her special mission, and is finally killed under a crashing gate. Once again (his previous books- on Viking's list- have been similarly set in the mines) there is a sensitivity here, and an authenticity, but little that is indigenously popular.