A story told on three time dimension levels, with a resultant difficulty in making any of the characters of more than cardboard thickness. Charles Mercer has set his contemporary story in Italy, in the vicinity of Florence, where Andrew Jackson Drummond, IV, is recuperating from a Korean War injury- and steeling himself to escape the family fate of the regular army career. But he reckons without his father, General Drummond, who crosses an ocean to bring pressures to bear- as, thinks Drew, he has done all Drew's life. The General uses as a lever, his need for Drew's assistance on a family biography -- and to aid his cause further, he imports Jane, as amanuensis, attractive, army-bred, virginal- hoping that Drew will fall for her. But Drew has other interests- in the lovely form of Marcia, a Contessa, newly deserted by her homosexual husband, and eager for fresh adventure. It is an odd double triangle for the contemporary tale; and, in pursuit of the family history, there is General Drummond's own rather lonely story, and the recurrent flashbacks to his forebears, with Grandfather Sam now hero, now villain. The story never fully integrates; and the conclusion is patly predictable.