..... was Gladys Aylward or ""the Virtuous One"" as she was known in China, and this is the unusual story of an unusually determined and dedicated life. Having been in domestic service in England, Gladys failed as a probationer at the China Island Mission Center there but was undeterred. Answering an appeal from a Mrs. Lawson, a militant missionary of 74 in a primitive village, Gladys went to join her and barely got through Russia to Japan and then by mule through the mountains to Yangcheng. In a little while she overcame the mistrust of the ""foreign devil"", and at Mrs. Lawson's death carried on alone, earning the affection and respect of the natives and even converting their Mandarin whom she openly chided for the cruelty of their traditional customs. During the war, she fell in love with a young Colonel of the Chinese Intelligence; she became openly suspect to the Japanese who put a price on her head and later brutalized her; and she made her way, with a band of 100 children, to ultimate safety although she barely survived the long period of attrition, internal injuries, and later typhus and pneumonia.... A quiet tribute to an indestructible spirit, the publishers hope that it will have the double appeal of The Nun's Story and Anna and the King of Siam: this is quite an order to fill- but it is a strong human interest story and even a fractional market of the earlier books would be satisfying.