It is the 1920s, an age of innovation and daring in transportation both on the road and in the air. At the forefront of motor-car development is Somerville's - to own a Somerville-bodied Rolls-royce is every man's dream. But when George Somerville has an accident that leaves him paralysed, the future of the firm looks uncertain. George has no sons old enough to manage the firm. He does, however, have a wife.
Defying general skepticism and her own doubts, Julia gradually takes control, warding off takeover attempts with breathtaking skill and cunning. In Eliot Baring, an American employee and a brilliant airplane engineer, she sees a new future for Somerville's and, perhaps, for herself.
Together they take Somerville's into the skies where competition is fierce and enemies common. But the skies darken as fascism spreads across Europe and Julia's conscience becomes ever more important in Somerville's future. Beset on all sides, deserted by her colleagues - and lovers - her future looks bleak until help comes from the most unexpected quarter.