Set in the time of the Vietnam War, this story concerns the plight of a young American, happily installed in a perfect job in England, engaged to a wonderful girl, who is suddenly drafted to a war he disapproves of. What is duty here, what is self-interest, what is cowardice? Austin Gibson Grey, the accidental man of the title, is accident-prone, also prone to bring disaster to his friend sand relations. He blames fate. But are we not all accidental, one of his victims asks. Fate and accidents make deep moral dilemmas for the characters in the long and complex tale.