A love story of sorts, yes, but Steel's 38th (Malice, p. 328, etc.)--a no glitz, no glamour, color-by-the-numbers historical tract set mostly in the '40s--will have die-hard fans asking: Where's the Steel? When Japanese Masao Takashimaya meets his arranged bride, Hidemi, it's love at first sight. Though he's an ultramodern professor who wants his children to learn English and she's a fierce traditionalist who wants nothing more than to bear Masao a son, their marriage of convenience quickly transforms itself into a bona fide love match. Hidemi is ashamed, but Masao delighted, when their first child turns out to be a girl. And when their daughter Hiroko turns 18, her father--against her mother's wishes- -sends her to California for what is meant to be just one year of college. She goes to live with her father's cousin ``Tak,'' his Japanese-American wife, and their three American-born children. Tak, a highly-respected political science professor at Stanford, has lived in America for 20 years. Meanwhile, Tak's assistant, Peter, who is white, falls head-over-heels in love with the painfully shy Hiroko as soon as he meets her; and with Peter, Hiroko finally blooms, beginning to feel at home in a land that had previously seemed inconceivably foreign. Then WW II breaks out, Pearl Harbor is bombed, and Hiroko and the Takashimayas are sent to internment camps, along with thousands of other Japanese-American citizens. Peter goes off to war, as does Tak's son Ken, but through the hellish years that follow (and the loss of several principal characters), Hiroko's love for Peter never wanes. In the one concession to Steelism, in spite of insurmountable odds and considerable tragedy, a sappy end is tacked on with unabashed tugs at the heartstrings. History on the light side in the telling, though well researched and solid in its basis. If prosaic and simple, a glimpse nonetheless into a shameful episode in American history.