This little story is tightly constructed and gripping. A rich lawyer is incarcerated during the war with a bunch of ordinary joes. As a result of hostage-type negotiations, a set number of them are designated for random executions. The prisoners draw lots to determine those to die, and the lawyer is one of the losers. Desperate to live, he offers all his estate to anyone who will trade places. The man who drew the 10th lot takes him up on the offer, accepts the estate as payment for his life, and has the lawyer make out a will leaving the wealth to his family. The guilt over this "act of cowardice" haunts the lawyer to his grave.
This story is hard to put down and gracefully written, but the characters are relatively flat, 2-dimensional figures. They are useful symbolically, but not terribly convincing as real people. All in all the tale reads more like a parable than a novel.