14 FEBRUARY 1880, Page 24

Chronicles of No-Man's Land. A Third Series of "Camp Notes."

By Frederick Boyle. (Chapman and Hall.)—This is a volume of very striking stories and sketches. Now and then there is a touch in them of Nathaniel Hawthorne, more frequently one of Edgar Poe. But after all, the writer whom Mr. Boyle most resembles is himself. Many readers will remember the two former series of " Camp Notes." Their writer is a very Ulysses, who has "corresponded" in almost every quarter of the globe, and whose adventures would furnish the material for at least half-a-dozen Odysseys. The only drawback is one suggested by the preface. We should have liked a somewhat plainer and more distinct line of demarcation between truth and fic- tion. Sometimes the whole interest of the paper depends upon the con- sideration whether its details are absolutely true. Nothing, for instance in the volume is more striking than the chapter entitled, "The Resurrection of Ashanti." This purports to be drawn from the notes of a certain Mr. Kean, who went up the country, with two or three companions, in search of gold, visited Coomassie, where he witnessed the deposition of Koffee-Kalkalli in favour of a younger brother, and his subsequent appointment to the post of commander-in-chief ; and then, for a consideration, under- took to drill the Ashanti armies in European fashion. Mr. Boyle tells us that all this agrees with information received at the Foreign Office. It has all the appearance of verisimilitude (which, however, Mr. Boyle is quite skilful enough to give to fiction) ; and if it is true, it is of great importance, so great, indeed, that it would cause a feeling of resentment to know that it is fiction, or even materially ex- aggerated. Apart from this drawback, Chronicles of No-Man's Land is a most readable, oven exciting book. Borneo, Kaffirland, Central America, Afghanistan, are visited in turn, and brought up before the reader's eyes with a graphic force that could not be easily surpassed.