1947. The worst of winters caps five years of war and two of rationing and austerity. Christian and his family have had eugh and seek a new beginning in Kenya. They work hard and at first they prosper and are happy in this vivid Eden, living a life of landed gentry complete with smiling servants. But terror and brutality come to paradise and they start to question the basis of their privileged white lives. This comes easily to Carla. British raised but Hapsburg born, she kws about the end of empire. For Christian it is harder for he had dealt with the horrors of war by mental withdrawal and the habit is hard to kick. Carla and the kids are his lifeline, his connection to humanity. Through them his honest but detached analysis of the plight of the Africans starts to change to concern and sympathy. When the colonial authorities blackmail Christian into a position where the survival of three men depends on his skills he is finally jolted into emotional engagement with the wider world. However there is easy way out of the trap in which the family finds itself. Together this disparate but loving couple face a crisis where financial ruin beckons. They struggle to avoid self pity, for they kw that their problems are trivial compared with the approaching hanging of the three men who have intruded into their cosy domesticity. As they confront barbarity t all is grim necessity; their lives are touched by unexpected humour, sometimes tender, sometimes dark. Through layered reminiscence and yearning the family comes to terms with two decades of turbulent change.