Driven by a need to match his novelist-wife's prominence, Richard Gracechurch, a colonist on an island just off China, undertakes to build a road. In its inception, the road promises to bring prosperity to the island and fame to him, but to Sylvia Gracechurch it is a potential moat of separation which will lead Richard further into the realm of self deception. Determined not to interfere with her husband's attempt at self-vindication, Sylvia waits while the jungle interposes its complex framework of will, greed, and reluctance to yield to a Western conception of progress. Ultimately, the tropical forces of mind and climate turn Richard's dream into a nightmare of corruption and violence,and Sylvia, split between her native England and the tropics, which she intuitively understands, faces a life of disturbing rootlessness. This first novel, urbane in the extreme, revealing and merciless in its summation of the essential loneliness of the sensitive individual, will find an enthusiastic audience among those kindred to its characters. Lacking in scope of action, The Road, in its self-limited capacity, provides an evocative, searching view of the face beneath the mask, its one adornment, arresting local color.