The war from a unique angle in a story that encompasses two lives in counterpoint. One- that of Alan Duncan, Australian born, a veteran officer who had lost two feet in the war, and was returning, with some reluctance, to help in the running of his aging father's vast holdings. The other- that of Janet Prentice, who- as Jessie, housemaid to his parents, had killed herself the night before his arrival. Alan, finding a photograph, realizes her identity as the English girl who was to have married his young brother, killed on secret mission before Dieppe. Alan, after a time lag due to his own disaster, had tried in vain to find her. And, through her diaries, carefully concealed, and the piecing together of his own knowledge and research, the bits of fact fall into place. Through the pages one gets a wholly fresh story of life just behind the lines of embarkation before the invasion. One gets something of the life of the Wrens, in which branch of service Janet had distinguished herself in ordinance, and as a crack shot. And one gets-feelingly presented-the steps by which she came to think that she must pay in death of loved ones for the accident of shooting down a plane, manned not with Germans- but with Czechs and Poles seeking hostage. It is a haunting sort of story, not always convincing, but always holding. Those who have felt that Nevil Shute had gone "around the bend", will find here that he is still primarily a good story teller.