A rambling novel, perhaps most closely affiliated by its setting with his earlier Ship's Company (1955- Little, Brown), takes place chiefly aboard ship during the second world war. As does everyone else, Lieutenant Mason wants to be liked. He tries to be ""one of the boys"" although he is an officer. The trouble starts when the new captain arrives and gradually takes attention away from the younger officer. The personality clash and its resolution form the focal point of the book, but there are other characters, among them one who serves to voice the author's opinions and who brings Mason to greater self-awareness at the close. This is rather hastily achieved, since Mason has been a selfish sort throughout and it is implied that he was indirectly responsible for the death of a young Italian girl while on shore leave. Much of this is fairly fuzzy, although some of the scenes aboard ship are graphic. Still, none of the characters comes alive sufficiently to engage the reader's interest or sympathy.