James, always the outsider, enters Oxford – high seat of privilege, wealth and ambition. There he meets Mark Winters – dissolute, astonishingly, heartbreakingly rich, and pitilessly cruel – and the fellow students he has gathered around him: untouchable Emmanuella; on-again/off-again Simon and Franny; and passionate, true Jess.
The nights – and many of the days – become one long party. Friendships are made, and broken. Lovers swapped, or dropped. It is all beguiling and bewitching. Everything James dreamed of but never quite believed in.
But after university they are each cast out into an indifferent world. Free of Mark and his dark influence, they are lost to one another, until one night tragedy strikes . . .