In a novel of extraordinary richness, the whole sweep of British civilization unfolds through the story of one place, Salisbury, from beyond recorded time to the present day. The landscape - as old as time itself - shapes the destinies of the five families. The Wilsons and the Shockleys, locked in a cycle of revenge and rivalry for more than 400 years. The Masons, who pour their inspired love of stone into the creation of Stonehenge and Salisbury Cathedral. The Porters, descended from a young Roman soldier in exile. And the aristocratic Norman Godefrois, who will fall to the very bottom of the social ladder before their fortunes revive.