As the 20th century matures, the years bring fresh problems for the Lowrie family, first introduced to readers in The Shimmer Of The Herring. James, rejected by his betrayed and embittered wife Stella, has to fight hard to keep his beloved steam drifter, the Fidelity, while his sister Bethany struggles, inch by painful inch, to gain the financial independence she craves. Innes Lowrie, the youngest of the family, is busy raising his ever-increasing brood. As the years go by, James and Bethany find themselves battling over her beloved son, Adam: Bethany wants him to find a life far from Buckie - and away from the danger of discovering the dark family secrets: James, father of three daughters, sees Adam as the natural successor to the Fidelity and a fisherman's life. Adam, meanwhile, is more interested in Etta Mulholland, Innes's foster daughter. But the day must come when he has to choose between pleasing his mother or following the man he knows as his uncle...