Taking its setting of scene and circumstance from the very real and current British dilemma on Cyprus, this novel has, as its main character, a Lieut. Col. Hugh Mallory, a professional soldier, a war hero, a battalion commander in a parachute regiment, a man, not of keen intelligence, but of persistence, punctuality, and precision. Although Mallory lacks staff capabilities and is, therefore, unlikely to advance in the service, he is and has been a competent commander in the field, imbued with loyalty to the idea of Empire, tenacious, a spit-and-polish soldier. All his beliefs are put to the test when he is captured by terrorists and forced, through torture, to reveal the camp cell-block in which Evagoras, a ""patriot"" awaiting execution, is imprisoned. He doubts, at one point, Britain's necessity of keeping the island as a crown colony but it is Mallory's type for whom it is not to reason why. He escapes from the terrorists, and in a flash of daring, re-infiltrates their lines and blows up the equipment to be used in freeing Evagoras, knowing his effort to be suicidal. There is a subsidiary love affair between Mallory and an island patriot which neither adds nor detracts from the main thread. The story, although well-knit, timely, and good reporting of a believable situation, lacks vitality, immediacy and involvement.