Fine book in near fine dust jacket.
It is May, 1940. The German invasion of Holland and Belgium has started. Marcel Féron, his wife, seven and a half months pregnant, and their daughter join the general stampede for trains running south from the small frontier town of Fumay. In the ensuing chaos, he is separated from the rest of his family, and it is through his eyes that we see what happens on the train, as it trundles slowly on, away from the oncoming Panzer divisions and Messerschmidts.
Marcel is a timid man with a constitution weakened by tuberculosis. He is cured now, but he is beset with a feeling of his own inadequacy; he is not strong enough to fight, he is only fit to mend radios. But, although cut off from his wife and child and experiencing the terror of being machine-gunned by the marauding German planes, he at last finds himself in a strange relationship with Anna. Anna is a woman with a past; all Marcel knows about her is that she has just been released from the prison at Namur. But he responds to her obvious need for him and, in her arms, finds real love for the first time in his life.
As the train moves slowly on, seemingly isolated from the pandemonium of war, this relationship matures passionately and yet tenderly. Finally they reach the camp for evacuees which has been set up at La Rochelle. It is here that Marcel has to make the decision which he has been dreading - to choose between his wife, who is safe in a nearby town and has given birth to a son, and Anna Kupfer, the Czech Jewess of whom he knows nothing, and yet everything that is important.