A first novel from England places the emphasis on logos and ethics first, on intrigue and adventure second, and poses the question of one action judged by two standards, and the search a man makes for the answer -- with the cost not counted. Richard Bering, with a history of pacifism in his youth, now serving as a professional soldier, shoots and kills a spy of an enemy country in peace time. Since he was not in uniform, he is convicted of murder and does not appeal, but when war comes and his act is proved to have been patriotic, he will not then accept a medal and be acclaimed a hero. Concern for his people in the mountains drives him to desert and a final interview with the brother of the man he has killed marks his departure for death. Pre-occupation with justice divorced from human fallibility, and with the parallel of Orestes and his fate, and the distance of a coolly skilled style will keep this within a cerebral and classic-minded audience.