A gripping chase story, in the Geoffrey Household manner, with the quarry stalked through some of England's most awesome (natural and man-made) scenery. When Laura arrives to live with naturalist Martin in the deep country surrounding Macemoor, the middle-aged lovers revel in the quietude; but when the radio mentions a "nutter" is lost and they sight a man on the cliffs, they approach him with food and offers of help. But wary, untrusting "Ray" may not be crazy, after all, though the story he tells is: British government-trained terrorists plan to waylay a nuclear-waste shipment from the plant nearby; the government then intends to double-cross them and make a "lesson" of them. Could this be tree? Macemoor is suddenly swarming with Special Branch operatives pretending to be birders, etc., including local squire Knapp, who is also in lust with Laura. Martin and Laura, with the aid of a London reporter, manage to outwit their watchers for a time, but twist after twist leads to a fatal blowout at sea--while Laura and Martin's relationship unravels in their disparate loyalties. Dashing adventure, with le CarrÇ undertones, apocalyptic views.