In 1788, Thomas Kendall, a naive nineteen year old sentenced to transportation for burglary, finds himself bound for Sydney Town in the penal colony of New South Wales. Discarding allegiance to the country that has disowned him, Thomas, an honest man at heart, seizes a second chance and begins a new life in the wild and lawless land beneath the Southern Cross.
Thomas Kendall fathers a dynasty that will last beyond two hundred years. His descendants play their part in the forging of a nation, but internal strife and the privileges of wealth see an irreparable rift in the family. Driven by passion, greed and prejudice, this rift will echo through generations. It is only when a young man reaches far into the past and rights a grievous wrong that the Kendall family can reclaim its honour.
This novel is as much a story of a city, its people and its heart as it is a family chronicle. With her uncanny ability to bring history to life in technicolour, Judy Nunn traces the fortunes of Thomas Kendall's descendants, their hopes and ambitions, through financial booms and crashes, two devastating wars and several social revolutions to the present day, vividly drawing the events, the characters, and the ideas and issues that have made the city of Sydney and the nation of Australia what they are today.