Mature readers who are weary of sallies into adolescence and sensationalism will appreciate the mellow quality that pervades Mr. Lewis' novel set in a land eager to rid itself of the white man who has shown, and now blocks, the way to progress. His hero, John Crane, has found meaning and delight in life through his work for ""the company"" in Laotian timber and mining interests; by separation he has eased himself without disabusing his wife of an unsatisfactory marriage. With the heightening of the drive for Siamese nationalism, the consequent plundering of the Haws, the undercover work of an American agent, the push of the Viet-Minh rebels, the company is more than asked to vacate. Crane's personal decision in face of such odds is further compelled by the arrival of his wife, who immediately, in her pathetic attempts to be a good wife, antagonizes Crane's servant-friend and neighbors, upsetting his cherished lifeways. Crane's death in Viet-Minh territory leaves his wife to build her life anew on the bequest of his love. The surrounding personalities, from the retired native Major to the hotheaded lover of a prostitute, company men to a reticent Viet-Minh officer, achieve wide-ranging realization in a full, gratifyingly adult novel with a background so compelling that it merges with the foreground. As his followers can testify, Norman Lewis knows Indo-China well.