A novel of the fall of France in 1940 is set in Alsace, a country by then already much liziled between French and Germans. Though many characters and life stories fill the pages, few are complete. The is set by the often contested, unsettled land of itself and the blurred of the people. Mare, a bastard, is an appropriate protagonist and he stands by his general in the hopeless defense of their village. With the fall of , the general, after a gallant stand in the woods, surrenders but weakly protests he was hicked into imprisonment. Only Mare, who is also imprisoned, and some filers, have some sense of the confused realities. As for the personal story, it is in prison that meets but not recognize his real father, and later, he escapes to revisit his girl, , who has surrendered to a rich lover and the high life of Paris. The book ends with a perhaps futureless meeting with Mathilde...Chaotic, the surface, it has interwoven some complex undercurrents: freedom versus religion, family versus the accidental commitments of life and . It gives few answer, except perhaps that ambiguous characters and countries, like as well as love and habit do survive. The novel is highly interesting in its intentions, perhaps too indirect to be emotionally attractive to many readers. Perhaps also .