From the author of the nonfiction The Clam Lake Papers (1977): a graceful, ruminative first novel, set on a WW II troop ship. In February 1946, the U.S.S. General Simon P. Bliss is steaming east across the Pacific, two weeks out on a journey from Calcutta to San Francisco. On board are 4,000 GIs returning from the war, who have nothing to do but stare at the ""clear, arching horizon,"" smoke, play cards, and squabble. Lueders focuses on the members of the Roy Warner Trio, an impromptu jazz group formed by three sergeants just before the voyage--LeRoy Warner on electric guitar, Start Norman on bass, and Mark Reiter on piano. In between renditions of ""In The Mood,"" Lueders deftly takes the reader into the hearts of all three men through a series of ""solos,"" or interior monologues, during the course of which the reader learns about their pasts and dreams for the future. The novel--broken up somewhat self-consciously into ""Prelude,"" ""Intermezzo,"" and ""Coda""--is in many ways a fictional essay on war, love, peace and (of course) jazz, with little in the way of plot or action. Still, this is a poignant first effort, full of nostalgia and a kind of quirky American realism that should especially please readers familiar with the period.