In the heat of late afternoon, a young boy waits at the station for his father. A plume of steam, white against the purple-heathered hills, marks the train. Beyond, blooming along the shoreline, the flowers of high summer, as a tall-funnelled paddle steamer beats and froths down the wide Clyde estuary . . . A narrative in the great Cronin tradition, this is the stirring chronicle of Laurence Carroll as he grows from childhood to adult years in Scotland. The tale of his struggles - early illness, a widowed mother, poverty, the uncles who try to help him, and the women who have such an unhappy effect upon him, is told with warm humour and with that intense and sympathetic realism for which A J Cronin is known. In the magnificent narrative tradition of The Citadel, The Stars Look Down and Cronin's other classic novels, A Song of Sixpence is a great book by a much-loved author.