In spite of the propagandistic bones that jut out unhandsomely here and there, Kemal's latest evocation of the mythic, blood-drenched, earth-rooted civilization of Turkey's Chukurova plains (the author's birthplace) again fairly shudders with passionate drama and scenery alive with portent. Here he chronicles the mastadon conflict between two Beys (feudal lords)--an honorable chunk of tradition in an era of encroaching Western-influenced materialism and bureaucracy. True, no one can remember why or when this feud began, but it goes on and on, with tenants, hired killers, family, and townsfolk all caught up in this ""exciting, extravagant, crazy saga of courage and cowardice"": Dervish Bey vs. Mustafa Bey. Dervish Bey is barricaded in his home, wracked by terrors; Mustafa Bey, staked out with his men in a reed bed, obsessively stages and restages a battle of ants. And both are feverish with fantasies of the tortures they will visit upon the sacred, worthy Enemy. These are the old ways, of course, ways that are embodied in Mustafa's mother, the Lady Karakiz, who herself will kill the son of Dervish Bey. Other killings, however, are ignoble ones: Bey loyalists are tortured to death by hirelings of evil, greedy aghas who are after the Beys' land. (The torture methods, it is carefully pointed out, have been taught to the thugs by Americans.) Some rather more delicately shaded characters also have their moments, but this first-of-a-trilogy is essentially a throbbing lament for the days of giants, splattered with gore and battle cries. . . while also demonstrating Kemal's sure craft and awesome emotive reach. And for those puzzled by our much-in-the-news, leftist-Muslim brethren--worth some study.