Cornwall, 1914 - Perys Tremayne arrives at St Austell to stay with relatives at the ancient family home of Heligan House. But this is not a social visit: Perys is hoping to use his family connections to start a military career with the Duke of Cornwall Light Infantry.
Perys is a Tremayne, but only just: his childhood was coloured by the disgrace of his illegitimacy. While family tensions continue to strain, Perys finds friendship with the locals, in particular farm girl Annie Rowe. Annie, though, has long been the subject of a tacit agreement between her parents and neighbours the Rowes, that one day she would marry their son Jimmy. And when Jimmy is badly injured in the trenches at Ypres, Annie feels unable to refuse.
It seems that Perys and Annie are fated to remain apart, but in this war to end all wars, one can never be sure what is to happen next . . .