A cross section of a group of Germans, Jews and Aryans, forced, through religion or beliefs, to become refugees seeking security, livelihood and roots in foreign countries. To Paris, England and finally Hollywood they wander, some finding what they seek, others answering their questions only in death. The story is primarily concerned with Hamforter, a symphony conductor, who finds happiness in marriage and growing fame, but is pursued by the fate of an old friend still in Germany and returns to his native land to rescue him. There is a film director, unable to adjust to Hollywood planning his hopes on a madman's whim. Another goes to Palestine and after an unsuccessful venture in soda fountaining, gets another chance in pictures there. And so forth. The group chosen here, fairly well situated, with no acute joblessness or poverty, and a potential profession, represent a desperateness of mind, rather than physical deprivation. Their suffering, mental and emotional, does not arouse as general a sympathy, though James Hilton's and Thomas Mann's comments are highly laudatory.