Many years ago Gerard Hernshaw and his friends 'commissioned' one of their number to write a political book. Time passes and opinions change. 'Why should we go on supporting a book which we detest?' Rose Curtland asks. 'The brotherhood of Western intellectuals versus the book of history,' Jenkin Riderhood suggests. The theft of a wife further embroils the situation. Moral indignation must be separated from political disagreement. Tamar Hernshaw has a different rouble and a terrible secret. Can one die of shame? In another quarter a suicide pact seems the solution. Duncan Cambus thinks that since it is a tragedy, someone must die. Someone dies. Rose, who has gone on loving without hope, at least deserves a reward.