A first rate yarn with a unique setting and period background, - Japan in the 17th century, when the Dutch alone kept open the door to the Western world by dint of unflagging care to perform the courtesies required by Japanese etiquette, to understand the Japanese psychology. Caron, a Frenchman in the Dutch service, and the young Dirk whom he was training to supplement his efforts, found their task a difficult one in view of the new Director Becker's truculence and ignorance. Further danger threatened when Van Os' niece defied the regulations and came from Batavia to join her uncle. The Old Daimyo of Hirado, anxious as the Dutch to keep the door ajar, closed his eyes to the ignoring of the regulation, did all he could to make Trudi's stay a happy one. But trouble was in the offing. Malcontents, mistreated by a neighboring ruler, were plotting. Caron and Dirk did all they could to keep the balance. But a fanatical priest, smuggled into the country, added the exiled Christians to the other recalcitrant, plotted an attack on the imperial forces, and the smoldering embers burst into fire. Dirk was caught in the midst of a cloak and dagger adventure, imprisoned, and involved in the petty war. Only extreme measures, implemented by Caron and the Old Daimyo, rescued him from torture and death. But the Dutch were penalized - all of them except Caron, were forced to leave the country, and only a tiny crack left open to secure a modicum of contact with a world the Japanese hated and feared....Good adventure, good romance. My main quarrel with the book is the imposition on 17th century people (particularly Dirk and Trudi) of modern points of view. Somehow, while the authenticity of the Japanese picture seems convincing, the characters of the Dutch are insubstantial, unreal.