Japanese occupied China is largely the setting of this new story by Meindert de Jong. Tien Pao, its very young hero, has just escaped with his parents to the free city of Hengyang, separated only by a river from occupied territory, and as the book opens the boy is hired by an American airforce officer to erry him across the river and back again in the family sampan. When Tien Pao's parents hear what he has done they impress him with the danger and he promises to stay put. But during a following storm, Tien Pao is asleep on the boat as it gets loose from its moorings and drifts back to the enemy, where Tien Pao undergoes a gruelling set of adventures. Starved, all but captured by the Japanese, the boy comes upon a crashed plane and again helps the officer he had once ferried across the river. The American takes Tien Pao to his barracks, but there, even in ""the house of sixty fathers"" he sees no way of finding his parents again. Then comes the chance to take an airplane ride and Tien Pao remembers in a flash that his mother and father had talked of working at the newly begun airfield in Hengyang, where there is a happy reunion. As a narrative this is almost trying in its closeness; de Jong seems to probe ever the basic minutiae of events and to at last uncover them, revealing emotions as he does so.