BEAT ON A DAMASK DRUM by Troy Kennedy Martin


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Joey Castle, an English film star, arrives in Indo- China, searching for Adam Canning whom she had once loved- in the hope of bringing him back alive to England. She finds him- teamed up with four other adventurers of mixed nationality (""a crazy streak in each of them which together makes sense"") acting as a sort of United Nations truce outfit. If none of this seems very likely, neither does their mission to follow- to retrieve some paintings of a dead Frenchman which have materialistic value for one Breverton, and mystical meaning for the five of them. But it is the account of this operation which brings an idealistic improbability down to dramatic and highly realistic terms. As Adam tries to justify his own survival at Dien Bien Phu by assuring immortality for the dead painter, he has other lives to redeem when two of his associates are killed and the salvage attempt takes them into impossibly mined areas. The odds which seem hopeless- prove to be so- for all concerned, but the sacrifice to a perhaps quixotic ideal is at least- pro tem- valid.... A first novel, it is a partial attempt to give some significance to violence- but it is the tough to brutal descriptions of that violence in which the book has its greatest effectiveness. For men rather than women.

Pub Date: Jan. 6th, 1959
Publisher: Dutton