An impressive narrative economy marks this novel of the war in a small English village which points up the impersonal, unimaginative rule of the military, the conflict between civilian and army authority. The action concerns an old sea captain whose ship is to be sunk to block the harbor in case of a Nazi invasion. The Captain objects to his once proud ship being so used- the military authorities' inability to understand his reluctance. Brooding, obstinate, the Captain makes his own decision and sails his ship out into the mine fields and sinks it and himself. There is moralization here, and allegory, with perhaps the characters sacrificed to the lesson taught. Its harsh integrity limits its popular market, gives its appeal for the nature, perceptive reader.