Books: Finnish Steam Bath

THE ADVENTURER (377 pp.) — Mika Waltari—Putnam ($3.50).

The standard formula for making a historical novel sell merrily nowadays is: violence plus sex equals success. Finnish Novelist Mika Waltari has his own way of handling the formula: double the quantities, double the result. Last year, U.S. readers got their first taste of the treatment in The Egyptian, a story of how a local fellah made good with the ladies in the 14th Century B.C. It sold more than 500,000 copies, held first place on bestseller lists for over three months, and still ranks in the top dozen or so.

The latest Waltari should...

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