An overextended look at the terrorist underworld of Paris in the Thirties, seen through the eyes of sentimental Pierre Chave--an armchair anarchist, AWOL from the French Army, who's now living a quiet life in Brussels with his wife, young son, and subsistence job. The news, delivered by pompous courier called ``the Baron,'' that young Robert, a protÇgÇ of Chave's, has been chosen by the Paris cell to bomb a large factory sends Chave hurrying off to France. His panicky, fumbling attempts to deflect Robert from his assignment and from his new-found, hard-line friends serve only to reinforce their conviction that he's a spy for the police, who are everywhere after an anonymous tip-off. Chave, with uncharacteristic boldness, accomplishes his aim, albeit indirectly, and lives to tell the tale. Dull and repetitive in its endless descriptions of seedy, waterfront bars, even seedier rooming houses, and shabby, truculent characters; only Chave's sweet, stubborn persona makes this story, first published in 1938, mildly palatable.