The novel expression of a middle-aged American who lived most of his life in France and lost an only son in World War II. In 1948, guilty about his denial of love and emotional support to the boy, he tracks the rumor of treason. ""I only know that my son was no Judas."" He wanders Europe, a sophisticated introvert, wondering about ""treason by genes"", ""public treason from private evasion of responsibility"", and finding facts to counter the notion that Bobbie had been weak and traitorous. He concludes: ""I let my son estrange himself from me early and there is no recovering him."" He recovers Bobbie's girlfriend, however, and she comes to live with him. The boy emerges strong and likeable, though shadowy, and whether or not he was a double agent, or single or triple, remains a matter of speculation. The truth eludes the father and the plot eludes the reader. Mr. Stern indulges himself: ""The fatal clump of protein which drove the fiat of destruction through the lucky chromosomes of my father and myself into the gas chambers of Auschwitz had had no Aunt Zilpah to warn and avert; Bobbie had been uninstructed in violence."" Mr. Stern has lived in Heidelberg and Versailles. The authentic background is a pleasure. Currently teaching English at the University of Chicago, he has published two previous novels: Golk and Europe Up And Down With Schreiber And Baggish.