The Border country - a wild moorland barrier between the Scots and English - had, in the late 18th century started to settle down after years of lawlessness. Reivers, the vagabond thieves who plundered across the Cheviots, had all but disappeared. Jack Charlton is an independent drover, herding cattle across the fells of Northumbria, living largely on his wits with his companion, Phillips, a feisty red haired Scot. On a grim stormy night in an out-of-the way hostelry, he hears of the passing of his Aunt Meg, a spinster owning a hundred acres of rough farmland and a dwelling, Greays Hill - a small fortified farmhouse. Jack accepts the challenge of his inheritance and begins his integration with the local community and the realisation that he needs a wife. Murder, mischief, intrigue and skulduggery abound alongside Jack's conquests, including the flirty and conniving Squire's daughter. Along the way he discovers whose son he really is - and has to deal with the tragic consequences. The narrative flows across the fells, from the Tyne to Jedburgh, explores bygone farming practices and the value of good sandstone, reveals both harsh realities and staunch friendships, brings the colour and flavour of the Northumbrian way of life and tells how the love of a girl can help a drover overcome all.