The War is just over. In Venice, a city elaborately and affectionately described, Richard Cantrell, an American colonel, falls passionately in love with Renata, a young Italian countess who has 'a profile that could break your or anyone else's heart'. Catrell is embittered, war-scarred old enough to be Renata's father but is overwhelmed by the selflesess and freshness of the love she is offering. But this is no fairy tale. The fighting may be ended, but the wounds of war have not yet healed. And for some the longed-for peace has come too late.