The central theme of architecture will recall Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead, but here there are three careers to follow as the men establish themselves in their profession. Rafferty Bloom, Irish and Jewish, Abbott (Abby) Austin, proper and inhibited Bostonian, and Vincent Cole, a local New Haven product and not above advancing himself by any means, meet at Yale, go their individual ways after graduation, and, with the death of Abby's architect uncle, form a partnership in Taunton, Conn. Vince has married Troy, Abby's improper Bostonian sister whose insistence on integrity causes the breakup of the firm -- and her marriage; Abby's marriage to Nina, who had carefully planned on it, ends in divorce with her crack-up over men and sex; Raff, on his own in a more isolated town in Connecticut, has the young minister, Stringer, champion his unorthodox design for a new church, against vicious opposition, physical tests and community upheaval. Vindication comes when the New England Arts Festival awards is given to the church -- and when Troy and Raff are able to face their love squarely. A meticulous blueprint reveals the many aspects of architecture: -- the training; the practical experience in big and small firms and towns; as a business and as a social adjunct. It contrasts architectural precision against personal muddling; and dots the i's and crosses the t's explicitly. The information here perhaps outweighs the characterization and emotionalization.