Books: Return to Pompey's Head

THE LIGHT INFANTRY BALL (476 pp.)—Hamilton Basso—Doubleday ($4.50).

On the first page of this massive Civil War novel, Hero John Bottomley is up before dawn to fight a duel with villainous Ules Monckton. But he does not reach the dueling ground until page 143. having lost his way in a maze of flashbacks intended to introduce the reader to the large, and largely predictable, cast. There is the weak younger brother who breaks his stern daddy's heart; the high-strung mother who fears a slave insurrection; the "giddy, harum-scarum" little sister; the coldly beautiful woman who spurns the hero and marries money; and...

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