This is a story of romance and tragic passion in the Malay peninsula as told by Zainah, a gentle, well spoken Malay girl in an exotic, tropical society. Taught European ways early by the wife of the manager of a local plantation, Zainah learns more as the mistress of various wealthy, Westernized young Asians. She maintains her friendship with beautiful Dutch Mem Helena and is a neutral observer and confidante in her painful affair with David, a charming, transient plantation assistant. While David, because of her religion, is taboo to Zainah, she cares for the child born of his affair with Helena, witnesses his hopeless suffering (Helena will not leave her husband), his open affairs with other of Zainah's Chinese and Eurasian acquaintances, and when she finally recognizes her own love for David tries to force him into a similar liaison or marriage. When he refuses, she allows him to be murdered by the laws of her tribe.... It is Zainah's, and the author's, defense, that her Westernization has confused her into this tragedy, which is questionable. Otherwise, it is plausible and more distinctive than Susan Yorke's earlier novels- to which the terse, compelling styling contributes more than a little.