On a bitterly cold day in 1904, the DeRavenel family's future changes for ever. When Cecily DeRavenel tells her 18-year-old son Edward of the death of his father, brother and cousins in a fire, a part of him dies as well. Edward is comforted by his cousin Neville Watkins, who is suspicious of the deaths. The two men vow to seek the truth, avenge the deaths and take control of the business empire usurped from Edward's great uncle sixty years before. And so begins an epic saga about an astonishing family, set in extraordinary times.