Jack Tempest spent the first twelve years of his life on the canals. Then, when his grandfather died, everything changed. His mam and he moved to Skipton, Mam worked in the mills, and they lived as best they could. It was there that she bought the picture of the mountain, and when she died it was one of the few things he took with him.
But the mountain was more than just a picture. It was a real place - Whernside - set amidst the rugged hill country of Yorkshire, and it was to Whernside that Jake was drawn, especially when he found they needed men to work on the new railway lines, cutting valleys, building viaducts, and carving a tunnel right through the great mountain itself.
As he settled into the new harsh life amongst the rough shanty villages of the railway workers, one woman lit his very existence - Beth Seymour. Beth was strong, brave, compassionate - and she was also married. Once she and Will had loved one another, but life for the rail builders was savage and coarse and Will Seymour was rapidly becoming brutalized by the manner in which he lived. Beneath the shadow of the mountain, in all its seasons, the passionate story of Beth, Will and Jake was played out to a dramatic climax.