The five Fairfield brothers are recovering from the family split that has sent four of them over the seas, to India and the Sugar Islands, and will send two of the more unwittingly adventurous to the most dangerous coast on Earth.
Only the Reverend Aurelius remains in the Fenland, rigorously returning the family to prosperity and enforcing a proper decorum on the villagers.
Marcus is blown before the winds of war into French service and then to English captivity on Antigua, where only his younger brother Julius can save him from exposure as a traitor and the noose.
Caius and Felix have separately ended up in Calcutta and the newly captured hills to the south, there to make their fortunes, if they can stay alive long enough.
All four have the chance to enrich themselves, provided they do not die first.