Australia in the 1850s is a lusty, vital land, where fortunes can be made and lost, and the discovery of gold beckons the immigrant with the dazzling prospect of easy riches.
To Sydney, its centre of commerce and shipping, comes Troy Doone, a man who has already lost a heritage and carves for himself a new life. Proud and forceful, and with a magnetic attraction, he is quickly accepted by a society that judges a man on face value and asks no questions of his past.
Yet, from that past, there smoulders in him the embers of a bitterness he had believed forgotten. Another act of betrayal rekindles it, and sets him to fulfil a promise made in a moment of fierce anger.
On the fate of two ships his fortune turns, and with the destinies of two women his future is to be irrevocably linked.
The beautiful Vanessa Lowry, spoilt and wilful, whose only passion is to become mistress of the house of Cravens; and Rebecca Danvers, gentle and giving, and pressed by circumstance into a decision that could rob her of the chance of love.
These three people, brought together by their own needs and desires, and the strange vagaries of chance, are drawn into a triangle of love and hate that only a final act of destruction can resolve.