A bridal voyage brings American Molly, a straightforward, teady girl, to India to marry Derek Sturdevant- a sudden decision based on a week's acquaintance and on the assumption that he will return to America with her. Once there, she is alone and alien. Not only is the country-and its customs-strange- but Derek is a brooding and unfamiliar figure whom she cannot reach. Soon she is to learn that his careful posture as an English Gentleman is a legacy of pride and pretense from his mother- who has died; that he is a Eurasian- and that his hatred of his cousin Ananda, who has gone native, is his rejection of his own mixed bloodlines. There is also his troubling (sexual) relationship with his native boy, and finally- defeated- Molly decides to go home. Native unrest matches hers- and Derek's; there is her momentary, regretted submission to Ananda; and finally the confrontation in which Derek learns- at the expense of Ananda's life- that he could not accept Ananda as the black part of himself. In the painful stigma and striation of the half caste, the muddied emotional conflict beyond the appeal of intellect-or love- this is effective, and the dark ritual of native ways in an isolated outpost lends its aura.