Bill Maclaren, raised in a poor London area by a drunken father and gin-tippling aunt, grows up without courage and is terrified at the thought of what lies ahead when he is drafted in 1939. Captured by the Germans in Normandy, Bill is tortured and momentarily cracks, mistakenly believes that he has given away the position of his unit and caused its extermination. Temporarily stricken dumb by his horror at his supposed betrayal, Maclaren is ent back to England for psychiatric treatment, feigns loss of memory and assumes a new identity. Slowly and stumblingly entering his new life as Bill Connor, he writes a novel of his experiences, happens upon the estranged wife of his closest army buddy, and learns that her husband is reported killed. Though their way is beset by her unsavory friends from the fringe of the theater, his old boyhood and army acquaintances, the reappearance of Mary's husband as a black market operator, they both come to a full understanding of themselves and each other and Bill at last wins his way to courage. With a neatly turned plot and the two main characters, Bill and Mary, presented as complex, believable adults, the book still suffers from a rather too slick presentation of its material and too many asides and interpolations by the author.