When celebrated landscape architect Robert Boyd is asked to re-create the Garden of Eden on a strange isthmus of land in Cornwall, it seems at first to be a dream job. Soon the task in hand is well underway, as Robert begins bussing in flamingoes and deer and replanting trees - all under the vigilant eyes of the very charismatic Mrs Lacey and her rather sceptical husband, whose sister, Mrs Rochester-style, has been confined to a cottage on a hill nearby, which our narrator frequents for a little telescope-gazing, history lessons and some brutal sex.
Meanwhile, through encounters with his ex and his daughter, we Boyd's weaknesses as a man are exposed; he is married to his work and then some. The project devours him, and all who come into contact with it. But not everyone can agree that what is being done, to the land, to lives, is the right thing . . .