Sixteen-year-old David Mason, kidnapped without apparent motive from an Edinburgh academy, explores his attic prison, converses with his existentially despondent abductors, and later strains his capacity for endurance in an escape through raging snow. . . . Detective Chief Inspector Wormsley, on the case, interviews David's estranged parents and his father's mistress, and pursues the hunch (essentially correct) that David is being held by three older, former schoolmates. . . . And Major Wayne Andrews, American astronaut, distresses Mission Control by submitting to a seizure of cosmic consciousness while orbiting the moon. The connection among the three must be sought inside their heads--in the kidnappers' moral paralysis in the face of oblivion, the astronaut's mystical affirmation at the interface of inner and outer space, and the inspector's more stolid but parallel speculation on existence. And David pushes on, knowing he must survive but still asking why. Much the same sort of questioning and the same blazing breakthrough occurred in Corlett's The Land Beyond (1976). This brisker adventure has a solid plotline and clearer connections, but in attempting to impose (as one feels) the Major's subjective experience on his readers, Corlett is asking an awful lot of an essentially ordinary story. A well crafted but top-heavy piece.