A cleancut and compelling novel of the deterioration and ultimate destruction of a man and a marriage, this carries on the war with Naziism to a postwar England where Dick Graham, who had married a German war widow, Ilse, imports her son by her former marriage. A gentle man, Graham faces the reactions of young Gerhardt which range from cold curiosity to open hostility, from his pride in his real father to his jealousy of his mother and her new husband. And the boy's unbreakable defiance drives Graham from the overt show of temper to the inner realization that to keep Ilse's love he will have to fight the boy- and that the boy is German. As Graham fails again and again, Ilse'n first loyalty is to the boy, and she decides to return to Germany. It is a last act of violence- Gerhardt's bayonetting of a little Jewish boy- which leads Graham to the forfeit of all probity and self-respect which underlines the loss of his wife, the son he had hoped to share... A direct and disciplined portrayal which takes on the classical caste of tragedy, this is absorbing and affecting.