28 APRIL 1866, Page 20

Bound to the Wheel. By John Saunders. (Hurst and Blackett.)—

Mr. Saunders is out of his true groove in this kind of work, but he does it a great deal better than the majority of workmen. He has endea- voured to graft a novel of character on to a sensational plot, a very im- probable murder, and he has in a great measure succeeded. The idea of the hero is original and very carefully worked out. We do not remember in a novel a man quite like Sleuth, physically a coward but

intellectually cool, who pursues base ends by base means, but is conscious of his baseness, and uses it as a weapon,—disarming his patron, who has detected the meanness of his nature, by acknowledging that his sub- serviency was intentional ; defeating a cross-examining counsel by quietly acknowledging, first, that he was a coward, and, next, that he forged a slanderous letter; admitting to a local magnate who thought him a snob his own ultra-snobbishness as a reasoft for coming to a gentleman for advice, and withal bold and resolute in plotting. The courage of infamy has seldom been better described. Anthony Maude, too, is well done, though hurriedly, and there is a real capacity for farce in the description of the scene which follows the read- ing of the will, borrowed though the idea avowedly is from the first plate in the "Rake's Progress." Esau, too, would have been a remark- able sketch, had it been more complete, but the author apparently feared to raise this lad, thief by the father, gentleman by the mother's

side, streety but well meaning, into greater prominence. Mr. Saunders will, we doubt not, yet resume his first line, and, quitting sensational incidents, anatomize a heart as he did in Abel Drake's Wife, and with less unpleasant effect.