This is my pick of the new year's books so far. Not only is it superb story telling, with more definite a play for popularity than one associates with Kay Boyle, but it is a masterpiece of poetic prose, sparse, sure, almost scanning in its phrasing, but sacrificing nothing of pace, suspense, or emotional quality in the process. It is a love story against a backdrop of the French Alps, those borderline ranges where Switzerland, Italy, France come together, with Mont Blanc dominating all. Fenton Ravel, half American, half French, had been taken to America when war threatened, but has made her way back to the home of her childhood and youth, casting her lot with the people she loved, doing her job in Lyons of feeding the children, and seeking out the mountain village while on leave, hoping to find again Bastineau, the guide, whom she had loved from childhood. Accidentally, she comes back in company with another guide, and a stranger to her, and Vaudois, a Swiss; and is immediately labelled ""suspect"" because of it. Only the peasants accept her as one of them, only they let her know something of the activities of the French chasseurs alpins who are playing a dangerous game of contraband (refugees and partisans) across the line. Among them is Bastineau. Vaudois is known to be a spy -- and she is assigned to watch him. Almost she becomes his victim --almost she betrays her friends, her love. But in the end, Hamtineau and Fenton are reunited, and she is to go as his wife-to do her part in the fight for freedom. SEP merialization.