The potentate, in a Slavie satellite country, is Stefan Tamarov, now a member of the Political Bureau and a Minister. With the ""country cunning"" of his poor peasant he has succeeded in surviving and surmounting the Revolution, the Nazis, and the of the Communist regime. Even though the ""Revolution had grown a paunch"", Still he lives with fear now sharply re-alerted by the guilt of his daughter's association with Julius Hardman, an Englishman looking for a television interview, and by his own friendship with an old , Vrim, who has seemingly disappeared. In trying to salvage himself, and get rid of he implicates Vrim, grants the interview which ricochets disastrously, loses his daughter, and finally faces arrest and a long sentence. Only in prison, however, does he find that he is for the first time in his life really free.... Perched somewhere between adventure and contemporary commentary, this is an agile entertainment.