Fifty years of missionary life in Japan are the background for the story of a dedicated group whose lives are affected by the changing political atmospheres of the country. For Blane, Ridley, Randall and Poynter-Harris complement each other on their arrival, when they study the language and as they meet their first challenge -- a flood whose destruction their efforts avert, and which wins them their first convert. Ridley forgoes religion for medicine and is instrumental of further admiration and respect in a large-scale fire; Randall's new American wife cannot dissuade him from his implacable sense of duty and faith; rice riots and earthquake are further crucial events in their lives. And all the while, in spite of the loyal followers and friends they have won among the Japanese, there is the determined opposition to foreigners, at first hidden, later naked, as the Westerners and their ideas are suspect, among the military, whose Captain Yasuda becomes their nemesis. With Pearl Harbor and their imprisonment, their knowledge of their conquerors is of little avail, but with release and Randall's appointment as Bishop, at his death they are made aware that his true faith of ""I Have Known"" is the touchstone of belief. A novel of the spirit which surmounts the physical, political and national, this surveys a concentrated, often dramatic, landscape of personal and emotional search and of foreign affairs.