This is fiction -- but it might be the story behind the Spanish Civil War. It is a strange book, with something of the ""feel"" of Briffault's Europa in its cross sectioning of European society, its odd blend of idealism and worldliness and sordidness and gossip mongering. It is realistic enough to make one feel that there might well have been a character such as Don Cristobal, whose urge for revenge proved a fuse which set a world on fire. The story of a man whose childhood was colored by the ruining of his father's fortune and the gradual, sinking to social depths from which the Church rescued the boy. Revenge on his father's enemies was instilled into his being; opportunism in those around him, in the Church, in banking, in business, showed him the way to achieving his end. The means were in his reach -- and he boggled at nothing to acquire power and riches, easing his conscience by a determination to use that power and those riches to rescue the Spanish proletariat from ruin. Revenge was achieved. He turned to the other -- and eventually perished, a victim of his own twisted thought. A provocative book -- the last section dealing with the Civil War, is convincing to the emotions if not to the mind.-- An original book. But it is too long, too diffuse in its grasp at many themes, not easy reading. It is a book sure to cause discussion and the author is a newcomer who bears watching. Stock it -- watch it!