7 DECEMBER 1901, Page 23

The Usurper. By William J. Locke. (John Lane. Ca.)— The

Usurper is a novel with two heroes and two heroines, and a. double plot of love and ambition, in which the destinies of the. four cross one another. The romance of the poet who dies young, beloved of all men and women, is very pretty and. moving. But the stronger interest of the book lies in the work- ing out of Jasper Vellacot's life and character : the millionaire who sits so amazingly loose to his wealth, the philanthropist who is almost ashamed of his good deeds. The secret of the situation. is told by the title. Jasper is the" usurper." One reckless act of dishonesty—done years ago in the bush—gave him the key to the' limitless gold that flows in upon him from all quarters. And the art of the story occupies itself with making this gold a curse to- him, inasmuch as the duties entailed by his philanthropies bind. him to the false position when he would give all he has to be a. free man—able to be honest, and, being honsst, to marry Lady Alicia Harden. Character and plot are most ingeniously wrought,. and the conclusion, when it comes, is fully satisfying.