Action on ""The Rock,"" a strategic isolated outpost in the Aleutians, over-shadows the fight of ""jewboy"" Max Gregman to achieve his redemption from fear. Escaping his past, he effects a balance in his work at the dispensary but realizes that his enemy is the young foreman, brutal, virile Tony Sardel. He is unable to stay out of trouble when he plays knight courageous for Tony's klootch, Princess Almook. Tuberculosis and Addison's disease, coupled with her desire to see the outside, win his sympathy and daring; an accident gives him the chance to call, but not to conquer, Tony; and in his race to kidnap her, after persuading her to marry him, he loses when she asks the last bauble -- Tony's life -- and in his passion and pity he suicides defiantly. The hapless governmental wards, the Aleutians, and their pathetic destiny; the forsaken world in which white interlopers pay a high price; the challenge -- and the answer-give this a Gore Vidal feeling -- and its point of no return. Chilly -- and chilling.