Readers of Prokosch's novels through the years will recognize some of their distinctive traits- notably the sensuously surcharged prose and the density of descriptive detail. The story which he tells here, however, which is sometimes closer to fantasy than reality traces the erratic, eccentric pursuit of happiness, or perhaps only pleasure, of the seven Nightingale sisters and the orphaned boy Peter Kosowsky who went to live with them on the Chesapeake after running away from an institution. After Augusta, the eldest and the most formidable, makes a grim marriage and Daphne vanishes (at first with a strange woman), the Nightingales and Peter go to Europe; beautiful Barbara takes an old husband (whom she helps to kill) and a young lover in Italy; Elizabeth dies; Grace, with her crippled leg, has mystical visions which lead her to fulfill her sense of destiny as a mother (she becomes a whore for a night in order to do so); etc., etc. while Peter becomes a painter but as a young man partially sacrifices his identity by his absorption in the lives of the girls. At the close which ends for almost all in sorrow,- truths and illusions, pursuit and flight all fuse inextricably and give a deeper intent to the drift of superficial experience. Limited.