'Big King was at the shaft station when they heard the water coming. It sounded like an express train in a tunnel, a dull bellow of irresistible power. The water was pushing the air from the drive ahead of it, so that a hurricane of wind came roaring from the mouth of the drive, blowing out a cloud of dust and loose rubbish.' Rod Ironsides, ambitious and hard-living mining expert, knows that the general managership of the Sonder Ditch gold mine is the chance of a lifetime. But the price of unquestioning obedience to the coldly obsessive genius of Dr Manfred Steyner proves impossible to pay. Both men are but unwitting tools of powerful people -- for whom the control of a gold mine is only part of the realization of dreams and ambitions which include the destruction of the very mine itself ...