Ten years and more have passed since the author of The Sea and The Jungle and Galleons Reach (to name two of many of his books) published a novel. While the story is slight there are undertones and overtones that convey his concern over the blitz of England's basic qualities along with her public buildings. The period is that of the buzz bombs, and one gets the very special horror of the secret weapon in action, as the virtual elimination of a family of the old school is traced in the pages. There was Sir Anthony Gale, high up in the ministry of war; his wife, a gentle soul, who carried more weight in her family and community than they realized; her brother, a philosopher of sorts, Dr. Nick Tregarthen; Lucy, very active in war work; and the only son, Stephen, who was repeatedly turned down by the military services as too young -- and there was their home, White Stacks. Who could believe that it could be leveled with a single bomb? Perhaps the one character that will be remembered after the rest of the story is forgotten is the sailor McLuckie, whose influence on young Stephen was helping him reach maturity. He seems to be-says one of the characters ""the Cockney of the legend, as old as sin""; certainly a symbolic figure, representing the staunch foundations of the British character. Limited in interest-but those who remember the special quality of Tomlinson's writing will cherish, in particular, those passages about the ways of a ship at sea.