Gamma Tanpelle, third child in a family that settled in southern Rhodesia after the Boer War, is the narrator of this story. Lothar, the eldest son, and Gamma are destined to become adversaries over the farm: Hawk Hill. In a violent act which horrifies everyone, Lothar is cast out of the family home. He vows revenge. There is a trip to Madagascar and a long trip for Gamma and her sister, Kate, to Europe and England where, for a beautiful emerald ring and the deed to Hawk Hill, Gamma assumes parenthood of Kateas illegitimate child. On their return, troubles culminate in a dramatic encounter between Gamma and Lothar. Who will carry on the heritage of Hawk Hill?