A composer who finds success in his later years surveys his grandchildren as they come to terms with the harsher facts of modern life.
A young composer, Edward Pepper, is exiled from his native Germany by the war, struck down with TB, and left to languish in an isolation hospital. But then he falls in love with his doctor, Sally Banks, and his world is transformed. They set up home in a bizarre dodecahedral folly, The Roundel – a potent place, which grows in significance as it bears witness to their family's tragedies and joys.
The years pass and Edward watches from this sanctuary as both his grandchildren, Jamie and Alison, fall prey to the charms of Sam, an enigmatic builder, and have to come to terms with some of the tougher facts of life.