Spare, horrifying, yet lyrical, this Greek novel describes the German occupation of Greece through the experiences of a young ex-student and guerrilla, Stavro. Stavro has lost faith; yet as his clownish, shrewd, cowardly uncle Petro observes, he is drawn to priests. When the guerrillas kill three Germans, and the Germans, in reprisal, hand or shoot hundreds of men in the nearby villages, Stavro leads Petro off to search for their town's captured priest. They move through a ravaged, terrorized countryside, where murder is commonplace: wholesale, grisly, unbelievably cold-blooded. One priest lets himself be crushed to death in order to free a train-load of prisoners. An entire monastery is wiped out. Women and children are burned to death in a school-house. Against this theme of horror, Stavro's love for a Cretan girl and Petro's earthy tales and waspish challenge to God run as counterpoint. In the end, the cowardly Petro gives his life for Stavro. Bitter, shocking, memorable.