Nick Jenkins and his friends have moved from twenty- to thirty-somethings. Marriages are beginning to crumble and youthful optimism is fading fast. Nick's affair with Jean Templer is coming to an end, but all unhappiness is swept aside when he meets Isobel Tolland, who takes him into London's bohemian life. A world of heavy drinking, all-night parties and colourful eccentrics. But, across the Channel in Germany, Hitler's power is rising and war seems inevitable.