The story is told by Annora, daughter of Jake and Jessica. Annora was born in the great house known as Cador, the home of Cadorsons for generatins; she had lived a cosy and sheltered existence in the heart of her family until that fateful Midsummer's Eve when she witnessed a scenee of such horror that it changed her attitude to life, and in particular towards Rolf Hanson whom, since her early childhood, she had idolized.
During that night of terror she and her brother, Jacco, rescued the boy Digory, who because of what had happened was homeless and alone in the world. But when Digory was transported to Australia for the term of seven years, the incident appeared to be forgotten by all, it seemed, except Annora.
The years passed and she went to London where she was caught up in political circles and met Joe Cresswell, the attractive son of a well-known politician, who himself had political ambitions. There, life was suddenly disturbed by the eruption of scandal in which Annora became involved; and due to this, her cousin Helena's hopes of a happy marriage were blighted.
Jake, Annora's father, who had had a colourful past and had been at one time tranpsorted to Australia to serve a term of seven years, decided to return to the place of his captivity and to take his family with him. helena accompanied them and on the way out met Matthew Hume, the reformer, who was concerned with collecting material for a book on the methods of transportation. Idealistically he helped Helena out of a situation which she found intolerable.
In Australia, Annora met the brash and forceful Gregory Donnelly whom she found disturbing; and when the great tragedy occurred she knew she must escape from him.
Back in England happiness eluded her because she was still haunted by that Midsummer's Eve. Then, from an unexpected quarter, like an echo from her father's sensational past, came calamity; and in a dramatic climax, seeking the truth, she found herself in acute danger.