Carel is a rector of a non-existent City church (it was destroyed in the war). In the rectory live his daughter, Muriel, his beautiful invalid ward, Elizabeth, and their West Indian servant, Patti. Here too are Eugene, a Russian emigree, and his delinquent son, Leo. Marcus is Carel's brother and co-guardian of Elizabeth. His attempts to get closer to Carel are constantly rebuffed.
These seven characters maintain a constant dance of attraction and repulsion, misunderstanding and revelation, at the centre of which is the engimatic Carel himself - a priest who believes that, God being dead, His angels are released. At the end, Muriel finds herself with the power of life and death over her father.