The Taverners had lived at Buscombe, the mellow stone manor house in Wiltshire, for generations. They had farmed the land and sent their sons to war (and even, latterly, to commerce) in a way of life that seemed timeless. But in 1870 a new generation is about to take control - Tom Taverner, dedicated, impulsive, deeply caring about his inheritance, and his sister Catherine, intelligent, humorous, but frustrated by the limited opportunities open to women in a man's world. Tom marries, and agricultural depression hits the estate. And suddenly it seems that everything which was so secure can no longer hold. Stretching in time from the 1870s to the outbreak of the second world war, and in distance from Crete to East Africa, this warmly satisfying novel is a triumph of storytelling.