Carel is rector of a City church in ruins, destroyed during 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 emigre, and his delinquent son, Leo. Carel's brother, Marcus, co-guardian with him of Elizabeth, tires to make contact with Carel but is constantly rebuffed. These seven characters go through a dance of attraction and repulsion, misunderstanding and revelation, the centre of which is the enigmatic Carel himself - a priest who believes that God is dead, and this is the time of the angels.