Out of the drawing room and into the thick of the suppurating present-day Irish troubles, de Vere White's strongest book to date takes place within 40 miles of the border where various people, primarily Anglo-Irish gentry, hold their sociopolitical positions. But not Everard Harvey who is the hero and who is far more liberal than Sally, his younger, pretty, petulant English wife living ""in the middle of enemy territory"" -- a grievance justified after a member of a small I.R.A. splinter group blows up her child and his nurse. Sally would like some sort of vigilante action undertaken by Everard while she distracts herself with a horseman-rotter but Everard proceeds slowly while also failing in love really for the first time with the wife of his oldest friend. Perhaps he's well out of his both hopeless political and romantic bind when the guerrillas settle everything. De Vere White is a discreet while aboveboard, measured and polished writer who shows exemplary control of his story and his characters and his entrenched milieu in an increasingly unsteady part of the world. You will have had a more passionate and toughly committed reflection of it in Menna Gallie's You're Welcome to Ulster -- this works within a more traditional framework.