An intense, violent, overwrought novel focussing on a few people brought into unnatural intimacy after an atomic bomb has been dropped on New York. Each of the characters is intended to be symbolic of forces let loose in the world by atomic fission. A highly intellectual, articulate couple, with a child, are happily secluded in a rural community. Upon them descend refugees from the bomb, the husband's vengeful first wife, their twin children, and her opportunistic consort. The second wife, fearing for their happiness, denies them refuge, but the idealistic husband insists that their terror can only be dispelled by facing the threat to their happiness. Death, destruction, misery result -- the couple are left with a mild courage to face trouble together and go on. Overdrawn, over-written, lacking in the humor, the effectiveness, of a book like Mr. Adam. A protest of the intelligensia -- but inadequate, inconclusive.