"When young William's ineffectual father is killed in an accidental fire, he is cast upon the charity of an unknown great-uncle, John McIvor. The bitter, childless old man had been brought up to expect to marry the heiress to Kuran Station-a grand estate in the Australian Outback-only to be disappointed by his rejection and the subsequent selling off of the land. His life has been devoted to putting the estate back together; he has only recently partially succeeded and moved into the disintegrating, once-elegant mansion, Kuran House. McIvor tries to imbue William with his obsession for the land. He enlists him to work in a crackpot political party he is active in, whose policy is to thwart the Aborigines' attempts to recover ancestral territory. For recently passed laws entitle the native peoples to reclaim certain sacred sites. William's mother desperately wants her son to ingratiate himself so that he will become John McIvor's heir. But what no one knows, because neither his uncle nor his mother actually ever see him, is that William is ill and his condition is gradually worsening."--Publisher.