Was Martin Merridew a saint or a sinner or a charlatan? Barbara Patche, whose weakly brother, Francis, was to dedicate himself to Martin's ideals, tells the story of his boyhood when he had the will, but not the power, to heal, of the cult he founded based on poverty and love and of the love he inspired in his followers. And then the scandal when he befriended Teresa, the nymphomaniac guttersnipe, the wreck his austere demands made of the romance between Francis and Kitty Meridew, his sister, and the despair his disappearance caused. Barbara, now married to correctly critical Charles, is never able to explain to her husband Martin's tremendous appeal and when, with the recent war, Martin is accused of treason and it is before Charles that he is to be tried, she is unable to do more than sit through the case as Charles weighs the testimony for and (mostly) against Martin, for those he has led and those he has healed turn against him and the pitiful few, Teresa amongst them, who are loyal, count but little. This is, in its searching retrospect, and absorbing detailing of character and background, if not outstanding or compact, all-encompassing in its coverage.