In the Wilderness character tells

In the Wilderness is an antidote to salacious later twentieth century bestsellers. But Robert Hichens’ novel is strong stuff that many readers may find hard to swallow. In the Wilderness by Robert Hichens 1917 bestseller #7. Project Gutenberg EBook #4603] My grade: A- Dion Leith is passionately in love with Rosamund Everard, who finds him […]

In Garden of Allah weak, lapsed Catholics revive

The Garden of Allah begins with the arrival in North Africa of  an  Englishwoman headed to Beni-Mora. Robert Hichens makes the vast, unpopulated Sahara a vivid backdrop flooded with colors and  vibrating with tom-toms, cymbals, castanets, and the howls of dogs for a story as unexpected as the scene. The Garden of Allah by Robert […]

The Sea-Hawk Grabs and Won’t Let Go

In the first chapter of The Sea-Hawk, Rafael Sabatini whispers the broad outline of his plot just loudly enough that dedicated novel readers will catch it. Tte foreshadowing barely has time to register before Sabatini plunges his 16th century hero into an adventure that shows off his thoughtful, complicated personality as well as his biceps. […]

The Saracen Blade is dull and dumb

Frank Yerby’s speciality is novels about men and women who rise from poverty to wealth, fame, and marital bliss through their brilliance, loyalty, and sexual prowess. Yerby sets The Saracen Blade in the 13th century. Pietro di Donati, a blacksmith’s son, is born on the same day and in same town as the baby who […]

The Wanderer Has Great Setting But Where’s the Story?

Michael Karvajalka  is a disillusioned Finn making a pilgrimage from Rome to the Holy Land in 1527.  Wimpy Michael and his muscle-bound half-brother, Andy, are born victims. Michael’s dog, Rael, is brighter than both of them together. En route, Michael falls for Guila, a woman with one blue and one brown eye who tells fortunes. […]