A McCarthy-era scenario, reminiscent of the Alger Hiss/Whittaker Chambers case--with the emphasis sensitively placed on what the friendship might have been like before the betrayal. . . and the devastating hurt after. Narrated by a very third party, Englishman Kit Quayle, Aldridge's lean and artful narrative brings together Philip ""Pip"" Lovell--Yale-educated, patrician, politically pragmatic--and Lester Terrada, son of immigrants, a liberal-minded conservative, and an ex-Communist. This mismatched duo shares an office at Time-Life. They also share a girl, Judy Jamieson, who marries Pip first; then, after Lester denounces Pip in front of a Congressional committee, she switches over to Terrada. Pip's downfall stems from the advice on China he gave to Roosevelt during the war, and Aldridge--through narrator Quayle--portrays him as an absolute victim, yet never so blindly as to miss the drama of soured friendship that underlies the whole situation. The climax, a meeting of the two in the south of France, is rendered with grace and tact, so Fitzgerald-ish that Aldridge is himself obliged to invoke Abe North's departure in Tender Is the Night--but nonetheless it's moving and quietly thrumming with emotion. A short, regretful glance of a book, with the disproportionately large satisfactions that also came with Aldridge's My Brother Torn and A Sporting Proposition.