After his mother dies, college teacher Pete Houston goes to France with wife Janice: he wants to visit the grave of the father he never knew--a WW II battle victim. But the authorities can't find the Houston grave in the vast US battle cemetery. Furthermore, when Pete asks about a certain Pierre de St. Laurent (who supposedly arranged for the burial years ago), the local villagers become strangely taciturn, even hostile. And, after Janice dies in a homicidal car-crash (one of many mysterious attacks), Pete starts sleuthing with a vengeance, aided by lovely Simone, daughter of a local hotelier. They soon learn that nine US soldiers who died in the big local battle have no graves--that all were supposedly buried by Pierre de St. Laurent! An enigmatic man who's been following Pete is killed, providing a dying clue: ""Le blanc. Verlaine. Find Charon."" A priest who knows too much dies under suspicious circumstances. And eventually Pete realizes that the nine missing soldiers never really died at all: they deserted, took new identities, and formed a semi-criminal organization (with stolen war-loot). So Pete must locate the secret chateau-lair of this shady group--a mission which leads him into confrontations with his father (who has disillusioning information about the Houston marriage), into routine action sequences, and into a showdown finale with the villainous Pierre de St. Laurent. Familiar chase-suspense folderol--without the excess gore and gobbledygook often featured in Morrell's previous thrillers (Testament, The Totem).