Robert Carson is the author of The Quality of Mercy, The Magic Lantern and Love Affair. The ""hero"" of this modern American novel is William Clay, a colonel in the Air Force reserve when the story, which is told mainly in flashback, opens. While in Europe with his beautiful, rich and selfish wife, Joan, he takes a side tour through U.S. military installations in Germany and this occasions recollections of earlier, less complicated days during the war. Clay was an ace fighter pilot, brave in spite of his worst instincts and a Medal of Honor winner. After the war he married Joan, a widow, and, initially assisted by her wealthy and influential father, he became a smashing business success. But he turns his back on finance and apparently on any kind of career when he proclaims his reactionary political point of view before a Congressional sub-committee. Now in Germany (his marriage on the rocks, his former life a shambles) he meets and falls in love with Deborah Horner, a photographer. The dilemma: should he try to make a new life with Deborah or try to patch up the remnants of the old? Carson's solution: Clay chooses Joan, her two children, the Air Force, his country and a certain unhappiness which time will hopefully mute. The implications? Clay's commitment to his responsibilities is another kind of heroism, and of greater merit, because less tangible, more complicated and without the obvious rewards. Carson is a competent writer but his characters are too shallow and flimsy (and uninteresting) to bear the weight of his theme. The publisher promises extensive advertising and support.