Books: Worthy of Sir Walter

THE GOLDEN HAND (501 pp.]—Edith Simon—Putnam ($4).

It takes something more than the drugstore magic of the ordinary historical novel to wake the dead. Once in a long while a writer finds the prescription, and brings the past to life in a fine historical novel. This week one of the best in many a month is being published in the U.S.

The Golden Hand is the fifth novel by Edith Simon, the wife of a research chemist at the University of Edinburgh. It tells the story of 53 years (1347-1400) in the life of an imaginary English village called Bedesford—its births, feasts, miracles,...

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