14 FEBRUARY 1903, Page 24

The Golden Kingdom. By Andrew Balfour. (Hutchinson and Co. 6s.)—There

seems to be always a certain difficulty in getting the hero of a story of this kind to start on his adventures. Here the hero is a village doctor, and we are some way past the hundredth page before he is afloat on his way to the "Golden Kingdom." This preface is not all superfluous. " Corkran the Coxswain" and Jacob the blaCksmith are intro- duced to us. About the former there is no little waste of words; the latter is a fine study: a man of a rare sort, but quite genuine. The chapter of "The Shoeing of the Stallion," in which we see him at his greatest, is very good. The adventures when we reach them are good enough ; no one certainly can complain that they are wanting in spirit. We seem to have gone through some of them before, and Cira unquestionably reminds us of Ayocanora. But the tale is well constructed and well written.