A rather long drawn out search of a brilliant scholar to escape his doom of despair and find a meaning in his life. The setting is a Cambridge college in the '30's, and the central theme is flanked by political undertones of scholarly life, severed love affairs, the intimacies of close friendship and understanding in a small, tightly-knit group. Roy is intellectual -- forthright and honest to a point that is dangerous to his career. He seeks an answer in religion -- he turns to promiscuity -- to drinking- then to intense concentration on his work. He develops an interest in the Nazi movement in Germany, worrying his friends, but returns to England before the war. He holds a desk job in the service, marries, becomes a father, and finds temporary relaxation. Then this, too, palls, and he joins the RAF and is killed in action. Good writing and interesting characterizations fail to keep the book from tedious periods.