Thomas B(ertram) Costain The Atlantic Monthly - Essay

The Atlantic Monthly

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

What are the ingredients of a good historical novel? What is in an author's mind when he chooses a period in which to place his story? Is it to provide color and background to enrich with a romantic haze a story not quite strong enough to stand on its own legs? Does the author set out to "explain" history in a popular way? Or is he writing for the pot, knowing that any craftsmanlike cloak-and-dagger job will find a good market? These and other unanswerable questions bedevil this particular reader of The Moneyman….

[Mr. Costain] is a consistent and successful producer of this sort of thing—as his three previous novels have shown. The Moneyman is a good enough story, well enough...

(The entire section is 606 words.)