A romantic melodrama, Flight of Innocents tells the story of James Thayer, an Englishman, who goes to Red China to help his Chinese fiancee escape to Hong Kong and to rescue his missionary sister Angelica. His bride and his sister live in Waichow, a city just being communized after the fashion of the country villages, and much of the novel's interest is in the depiction of communal organizations such as a boys' brigade for collecting animal dung, civilian shock troops for meeting local emergencies, and so on. If the background is more interesting than the foreground figures, it is because Lin Yutang's characters and his dialogue are predictable and wooden. Thayer and a company of seven others, including his prospective father-in-law, two children (eventually three), a reformed prostitute and her lover, take to the hills in their sub rosa exodus. Mainly, they meet helpful and noble types on the way, but are sometimes forced into gunplay and quasiguerrilla warfare. (As a cliffhanger, the novel features four separate incidents with people who fall or have fallen over cliffs.) When the survivors reach Hong Kong, they all set themselves up in happy Capitalist businesses. A tale with little subtlety of character or suppleness of values.