An interesting first novel-- interesting not as a novel but as a picture of what happened in an imaginary, composite, colonial country before, during, and after World War II when it worked towards self-government and independence away from the British Empire. Henry Little, a professor of history at Sagha's university, tells the story of one of his students, Lin Soe, a nationalist and a natural born leader, who, from insignificant agitator becomes the first head of the government of independent Sagha- and finally its political martyr. The plot moves from just before the war when the British were promising eventual self-government, through the Japanese invasion, (welcomed by the nationalists), the return of the British (also, by that time, welcomed by the nationalists), to the time when Lin Soe's party force the British to give in to its demands without violence. The interest stems from Little's ambivalence about the whole process through his understanding of both the British and Lin Soe's cause. The interest is, in other words, intellectual. As a novel the book is pretty dry, the characters are stickish, and the author never hesitates to stop the action for a discussion of the pros, cons and implications of an event.