A yarn of adventure in Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean. Major Geoffrey Rowly-Conwy of the Royal Artillery refuses to obey an order to surrender to the Japanese as they close in on Singapore. Commandeering a small launch and a junk, he and some fellow British soldiers head for Dutch Sumatra, where -- in return for a commission to operate a Dutch craft -- they rescue survivors of Japanese bombings. From Padang they set out for Ceylon in a frail proa: During the 36-day voyage, they are gunned by the Japanese, buffeted by turbulent seas, and they lose half their water supply. Finally, on sighting a friendly vessel, they hoist an improvised distress signal, not realizing that the one they select is a warning of their intention to attack. Fortunately a perceptive captain holds his fire, and permits them to board. No hero's welcome greets them in Ceylon -- just some red tape. It is a familiar war story: jungle, disease, thirst. The book is insignificant, but unobjectionable, and, fortunately, free from gratuitous outbursts of patriotic zeal.