It seems that the more books I read in Winston Graham’s Poldark Saga, the more interesting I find it. In the fourth book, Warleggan, we get more insight into whether George Warleggan is the villain Ross Poldark thinks he is. Short answer—yes.
Ross and Demelza’s marriage undergoes serious tests in this novel. First, at a party, Elizabeth, Ross’s first love, lets him know she made a mistake when she married his cousin Francis instead of him. Ross is no fool, and he realizes that this inability of Elizabeth’s to know her own mind has poisoned her own marriage to Francis, because Francis has realized that Elizabeth prefers Ross, too. Ross is sure that his betrayal by Francis, now forgiven, is at least partially because of this perception.
Early in the novel, though, Francis has an accident in the mine and dies. Demelza becomes more worried about Ross’s feelings for Elizabeth, especially since there is a new distance in her marriage with Ross.
The mine that Ross placed his hopes on, based on Mark Daniel’s comment after spending a night in it while hiding from the authorities, is not panning out as expected. Ross and Demelza are struggling financially, and the money to mine won’t last much longer. So, Ross decides to involve himself more directly with the smuggling trade by going along with the smugglers to see Mark, in hopes of finding out where he saw the ore. But there is an informer in the village.
Dwight Enys has finally decided to elope with the rich heiress Caroline Penvenen, because her relations won’t agree to her marriage with a penniless doctor. However, he must agree to leave Cornwall to marry her, and he is not happy to leave his patients.
Finally, the situation in Europe has become more unstable. Soon there will be a war with France, and no one knows how that will affect the country.
So far, this novel is the one in the series that has most involved me. I don’t know if this is because of my sympathy for Demelza or my ability to finally divorce this series from the new television series, which I saw before I began reading. I think there are eight more novels to go, and I’m looking forward to them.