An unusual first novel and one that deserves more attention than the run of the mill. The setting is unique- a Finnish lumber camp within the Arctic Circle on the Russian border -- and Helsinki; the time- just prior to World War II, with the threat of the happy-triggered Russian guards a constant menace; the characters- a young Englishman, to the lumber camp as part of his training for a major post in a British owned lumber company- and sent back a second time, to separate him from the Finnish girl he has ot and loved in Helsinki; personnel at the lumber camp; a strange, elusive, untrustworthy Frenchman who appears and disappears at odd moments; the office chief, a soulless, hard- oiled executive, interested only in the money bags; and the girl, who somehow never quite comes clear, despite the glamorous portrait. There's some overwriting, there's a distasteful episode relating to a group of visiting businessmen out for cheap sensation; the book unnecessarily long; there are passages of stream of consciousness philosophical dissertations that fail to gear with the rest. But there are too some vividly beautiful bits of descriptive writing, some deeply felt emotional analyses, as the youth discards the superficial values of his first contact with the hardships of his job and finds in himself deepening maturity and understanding. But primarily the book will be read for its sense of adventure, mounting tensions and authentic background of a little known area and period in modern history. A writer to be watched; a book to be reckoned with.