John Hersey's fiction, especially his two recent novels (Too Far to Walk-1966 and White Lotus-1965) has been heavily criticized for the clumsily obvious telegraphing of theme--pots of message. Nevertheless, Hersey is one of our few novelists unashamedly concerned with the moral drift implicit in modern tribal rites. He is capable of engaging a broad readership. While Hersey's novels have produced critical cramps, the respect for his intent is usually apparent in published commentary that regrets his technique and applauds his purpose. This time, the style has been modified and the universe of the story confined to two married couples aboard a small boat besieged by a hurricane. The owner, Dr. Tom Medlar, a liver specialist disenchanted with his healing art, has weekend guests with him on the Harmony. Flicker Hamden, a crack computer-think-man, is inclined to see everything in terms of programming potential, even the mystique of sail which is heresy to the fussy, meticulous Medlar. Medlar uses sailing as his checkpoint--all the planning, charting and polishing is gambled against the destructive variable of weather. Hersey sets up their conflict immediately--the four way friendship begins to give. The reader sees everything through Medlar's eyes during the hurricane from its onset to its aftermath. Judgments based on external evidence, the optical illusions of personal insights, and the refusal to see or judge are all a part of a novel kept active through Medlar's desperate sailing efforts. A subtler discussion than Hersey has attempted before--with attention assured.