Books: A Square Triangle

SIR WILLIAM by David Stacton. 352 pages. Putnam. $5.95.

David Stacton is a writer of historical romances who leaves out the romance. In his latest, most ambitious novel, he deals with one of history's hottest love affairs: the six-year fling of Lord Nelson and Lady Hamilton. Stacton's irony quickly chills it.

As Stacton re-creates the romance, the adulterous lovers and the betrayed Sir William Hamilton are plain and proper people trying, in typically underplayed English fashion, to make the best of a ridiculous situation. The eternal triangle is very square. Lady Hamilton is not...

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