Books: Fate of a Hero

FREEDOM OR DEATH (433 pp.)—Nikos Kazantzakis—Simon & Schuster ($4.50).

"Captain Michales gnashed his teeth." With this flat opening sentence, Greek Novelist Nikos Kazantzakis introduces his third memorable novel to reach U.S. readers in as many years. A pagan demiurge named Zorba goat-footed his Dionysian way through Zorba the Greek. In The Greek Passion, the peasant Manolios reenacted the Crucifixion as it might have happened in a 1920 Anatolian village. Captain Michales of Freedom or Death is a citizen soldier-patriot burning to set late 19th century Crete free from Turkish rule. These three heroes have nothing in common but the Kazantzakis touch—a gift...

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