Dunstan Ramsay and his 'lifelong friend and enemy Percy Boyd Staunton' are ten. One winter evening in the Canadian village of Deptford, they quarrel. Percy throws a snowball with a stone in it, but it hits the Baptist minister's pregnant wife by mistake. She gives birth prematurely to a sickly child: Paul Dempster. From that moment, the lives of these three boys will become mysteriously linked as they fulfill their strange destinies in the world.
The first volume in the celebrated Deptford Trilogy, 'Fifth Business' is a glittering novel brimming with dark secrets, wicked humour, myth and trickery, where the marvellous is only another aspect of the real.