Books: Underground Victorian

THE ABDUCTORS by Stuart Cloete. 429 pages. Trident Press. $5.95.

South Africa's Stuart Cloete (rhymes with rooty) is the author of three arresting historical romances about the 19th century Boer settlers and a well-informed study of black Africa (The African Giant). Now his tribal milieu is Victorian England, where white slavery and prostitution flourished underground because a polite society pretended that sexual desire was sinful and disgusting. Cloete's hero (or villain) is Edward Lenton, a hypocritical English country gentleman who seduces five of his children's governesses, then ships the sixth off to be...

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