Published by Derek Verschoyle, 1953, Hardback in Dust Wrapper. 1st Ed.
Condition: Good+ in Good+ Dust Wrapper. Unlaminated dust wrapper a little edgeworn and faded with rubbing at the spine ends and corners. Knocked at the bottom corner of the lower board. Edges of the text block lightly spotted. Tanning to the blanks. Text complete, clean and tight but a little age-tanned.
From the cover: It was the brand of ancient Rome and it stood for Senatus Popiihisqiie Romanus. The letters proclaimed that whatever was thus labelled was Romes property; today they still appear on objects owned by the city. And today Rome still puts this mark on its captives, as Lovat Fraser, First Secretary of the American Embassy, discovers.
He has been warned about the Roman virus. Never get deeply involved in a Roman love affair or really entangled in the life of a Roman, said a wise colleague; for once you do that, you will cease to serve your country and will serve only them. As the story opens, wise counsel has prevailed for a long time. But Fraser is young, healthy and unmarried. Suddenly his control breaks completely. Within a few days the startled diplomat finds himself involved with not one but two Roman women (one is American-born, it is true, but she has become Roman to the core). Dazzled by the brilliance of Roman society, the splendour of the palaces, and, above all, by the charms of the beautiful Duchess of Lanza, Fraser throws caution to the winds. In the weeks that follow he is swept along by an intricate chain of events which includes the unmasking of a Communist agent and a murder. For a while he believes that his career is in jeopardy; but the spell breaks just in time, and this witty and sophisticated novel ends on a cheerful note.
Paul Hyde Bonner writes of Rome and its surrounding Campagna with great descriptive skill, and his readers will find long before they reach the end that they too have fallen under the spell of the Eternal City.