A first novel, this- though physically static, presents a fair amount of metaphysical pursuit- and a composite, cosmopolitan group in Cairo during the war. All are overcast by fear, by doubt, but in particular Johann Kreutzer, former Dutch diamond dealer, now moneyless and pursued; Clement Woodlee, American in a government post; Mme. Propocoglu, oriental, sensual, and more interested in saving her fortune than her life; the protected Shipwins, a minister and his wife. Little overt action occurs, but the indirect interplay between these few ends with Kreutzer's questionably achieved rise to riches again, Mme. Propocoglu's accidental death, and Woodlee's temporary retreat from the world into the desert. A rather subtle, sophisticated intelligence here gives this its distinction- though its irresolution is unsatisfying. Limited.