Mandalay

Alexandra Jones, Author Villard Books $18.95 (485p) ISBN 978-0-394-56928-4
The most lucid parts of this historical romance, set in 1887, are the two pages of maps of Mandalay and Burma that precede the story. After that, it's downhill all the way. Jones strives for purple prose in her first novel, but attains at best a murky lavender. Nineteen-year-old Angela Featherstone, the redhaired, green-eyedand tall, of courseBritish heroine is impossibly resilient and strong-minded, even by bodice-ripper standards. She shrugs off a seemingly brutal rape (Jones is vague about the particulars) at the hands of a Burmese bandit by thinking about ""nice'' things, then escapes and rides bareback through the junglesin male Burmese dress and neatly balancing an elephant gun, to boot. Her male counterpart is American Capt. Nathan de Veres-Vorne, who escapes from a dreaded Burmese prison to warn his pals, two of the many crown princelings, of impending danger and political chicanery. There are various deep dark doings afoot, but they are far more apparent to the book's one-dimensional characters than to the hapless reader. The requisite touches of local color are not enough to camouflage a war-horse of a plot and plodding prose. (April)
Reviewed on: 03/01/1988
Release date: 03/01/1988
Hardcover - 607 pages - 978-0-356-14332-3
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