The disappearance of Capt. Gavin Gallgher from an experimental rocket base prompts an investigation not only of his mmediate whereabouts but, as his entire career passes in review, shows the somewhat shiftier nature of his distinguished service record. In his R.A.F flight training during the war, Gallagher was close to washing out and was indirectly responsible for the death of his blunt, able and stubborn instructor Tordoff. Living with this reminder of failure, and guilt, Gallagher went on to get the DSO after bombing a German ship, was salvaged although another man lost his life on the mission. Again his fear that he may hurt others is a specter in his romance with Edwina who dies in the Blitz, and his marriage to Rosalie takes place only after and because of the death of his good friend. The end of the war finds Gallagher unprepared for any other life, or freedom itself, and as he stays on in the service, he finally faces the precarious premise of his career and his raison d'etre: that ""twentieth century humanity is poised on a rocket tip awaiting the inevitable human error""-which may well be his.... A fable of fallibility tells the story of man's uncertainty in an uncertain age; if the novel itself is less overtly drama'ie and exciting than The Donnington Legend or Cone of Silence, it still offers a sleek entertainment and is easily sustained by the enigma of the man and his fate.