The winner of many Finnish literary prizes concentrates on the life of one family and reflects through that life the emergence of Finland from vassal statehood to independence, the growth of the peasantry to power, and makes a long, solid and violent saga thereof. The story is directly concerned with Marku, who becomes rich when a railroad line is opened up, but who is to know more and more personal tragedy. One son is killed by a stallion; another son forced into a bad marriage and dies of pneumonia; and the third son, wastrel and drunkard, disappoints him further. Only through his daughter's child does he see his hatred of Russian tyranny vindicated, for the boy, Matti, lives up to his ideals and attains manhood at the time Finland gains her independence from Russia. The flavor of a little known country, the love of land and people, is fully conveyed. But it's a long book, and not easy reading, a novel of tangled lives, of deep seated hatreds, and eventual victory.