March 16, 2001 at 05:00 AM EST

The Rising Sun

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Douglas Galbraith
genre
Historical Fiction, Fiction
We gave it a B

As pundits hem and haw about the hazards of the ”new” global economy, it’s somewhat comforting, if also a bit tedious, to meditate on how little has changed in the last 300 years. Galbraith’s subject in The Rising Sun is an ill-fated 1698 Scottish expedition to Panama as seen through the eyes of an ambitious young rogue whose mind is more mercantile than even he suspects. Exhaustively researched but encumbered with grandiloquence and too-familiar fictional totems of exigent commerce (the wealthy wandering Jew, the happy whore), Sun is lush, massive, and textbook-remote. The Scots’ best-laid plans go ineluctably awry, but you hardly feel the loss.

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