The theme around which this rather strange novel is built is the problem of responsibility -- and it is argued throughout and acts as a springboard of character and action. Most of the people are connected either as officers- senor and junior- with the destroyer Kucera, and the romantic interest is provided by the selfish little lightweight wife of Jack Vickers -- and by the regal beauty, Deborah Wisburn, sister of Harry Solomon, also of the Kucera. A collision -- a court case to establish the blame -- a squirrel cage of mental agony on the part of Ensign Ben Frazer, who was taking the destroyer into harbor at the time -- and throwbacks to peripheral incidents of death and responsibility affecting others, especially Hecht, second in command -- of these factors the tortuous, many-faceted story is composed. It is told first from one angle, then another- and the final impression remains somewhat diffused and lacking the impact expected as one reads. Very definitely for a male audience- and one conditioned seaworthy. The uninitiate might well bog down in the nautical terminology.