The demands on the dedication of nuclear scientists to their necessarily secret goals come into sharp conflict with their personal lives, and how they diverge- to ultimately be resolved- is the central theme of this novel. It is sometimes diffuse, translated from the French by Jonathan Griffin. Michel Renoir was beginning to feel a restiveness in his marriage to a flighty wife, Juliette, and his dissatisfaction extended to a parliamentarian father-in-law, in fact to everything except his exclusive involvement in the nuclear center at Damezan. How his meeting with the lovely, mysterious Francoise, with her peasant rebel against the atomic age- Ludovic, and with a German- American who offers him a more rewarding post, changes all his thinking. The novel keeps an interesting balance between suspense and its ideological inquiry into the attendant moral problems of the nuclear age- but its appeal may be more limited here.