The philosophic intent behind this story of a man's determination to get beyond the reach of an invader's program of conquest underlines the fact that man cannot live without mankind. His home bombed out, Pierre determines that he and his family will disappear. Caught in the collective panic and mass migration, he loses his youngest daughter, and heads towards the mountains. There are temptations -- to linger in unmolested territory, to lessen the sufferings of his wife, Yvonne, his daughter, Marie, eleven, and his son, Antoden an apprehensive six year old -- but they continue to the Alpine meadows, where they watch the program of invasion empty a village, which becomes their isolated home. The year they spend there deepens their loneliness, gives them a solitude which holds no future and peoples their empty world with fears. Antoine's sickness links the family together for a while and the harvest gives them a common cause but the coming of the second winter brings Yvonne's pregnancy and Pierre's discovery that the conqueror has been conquered and he and his family are now ""liberated"". A thoughtful novel in which physical survival at first important, becomes subordinate to spiritual and moral salvation, this reflects its Alpine severity and impersonality.