Books: Extinction of a Species

COUP DE GRÂCE (151 pp.) — Marguerite Yourcenar — Farrar, Straus & Cudahy ($3).

Until a few years before the Bolshevik Revolution, it appears, herds of aurochs roamed the fictional forest of Kratovits, a great feudal estate in Baltic Kurland, founded as a fortress in the Middle Ages by the Livonian Brothers of the Sword. The aurochs were the last of their kind surviving from prehistoric times. What the lords of Kratovits did not know was that they were soon to be as extinct as these primitive bison.

Bleak Theme. Marguerite Yourcenar has set down the story of the doomed Baltic...

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