The house, built in the style of a classic Mediterranean villa, lies abanoned behind tangled ferns and rusted gates. Its history is one of obsession, of tragedy, of a chain of events evolving from the day Mariano Grau and his daughter, Marini, arrive in the town of Junction on the North Queensland coast. They had been driven out of Cuba and nothing has prepared them for the life that awaits them in the swaying cane fields of a primitive new country. Behind them is the loss of a huge sugar plantation and the memory of Mariano's young wife.
Now his whole life is spent in a passionate encounter with the land. He builds a simple house on stilts for himself and the child but promises that soon they will build a house like the old home in Spain, the one he remembers from his youth.
Marini, the child, grows up isolated, withdrawn. Driven by her father's vision, it is left to her to fulfil the dream. She uses not only her own life and will to feed her ambition, but also that of the weak, tormented man she marries until, finally, she discovers that at the heart of self-willed creation lie the seeds of destruction.
In a narrative of exotic imagery, Gloria Montero has drawn an unforgettable picture of a period and place of overpowering richness and beauty.