A complex family with a tortured secret, the Hamers live on a large homestead in Radnorshire, Wales. Idris, the unbending patriarch and tyrant of the family, is a man suspicious of any change. Etty, his indomitable wife, is a woman born into a world unequipped to deal with her. Oliver, their only son, is a junior boxing champion turned hellraising local legend. A novel concerned both with the huge changes of 20th-century rural life, and that life in its eternal details.