Set mainly in Scotland during the early part of the last century, When Dark Clouds Pass revolves around the lives of two brothers born into a close-knit mining community. The protagonist, Iain Baird, despises his younger sibling, Alastair, and is jealous of the alleged favouritism he receives.
Following the death of their father in a mining accident, Iain is held responsible and is forced to leave the village. He finds employment in a Glasgow shipyard, and later in a munitions works where he becomes involved in the revolutionary socialist movement. Meanwhile their mother is determined that her younger son should have a better future, and encourages him to train as a teacher in Edinburgh.
Despite going their separate ways, the two brothers are thrown together once more on the death of their mother. Events following the funeral ensure that they can never be reconciled; their enmity will continue to fester and grow, even as Europe is plunged into the abyss of war. Neither can escape the forces unleashed by the conflagration, whether on Red Clydeside or the killing fields of the Somme. Iain plays a leading role in the agitation for revolutionary change and suffers imprisonment as a conscientious objector; Alastair volunteers for the army, only to be invalided out after a botched attack on the Western Front. In the midst of conflict and upheaval their feud remains undimmed, before reaching a climax in the closing days of the Great War.
When Dark Clouds Pass will appeal to those looking for a suspense-filled story set in the First World War.