The story focuses on the lives of three main characters; Peter Wells, a naval officer destined for the highest ranks in the Royal Navy. His first marriage failed because of his ambition. Carol Wells, his second wife, is a strong willed and passionate woman ten years his junior, who falls in love despite her dislike for any form of authority. Nick Wells is a twenty-one-year-old Airline Steward, Peter’s son, born to his first wife and taken by her at the time of their divorce. Twenty years pass before Nick meets the father he does not know, and, the step-mother he wants to know better.
The book is in two parts linked by the birth, separation and reunion of father and son. Part One begins in 1969 when Peter and Carol fall in love but are torn apart by the differences that first attracted them to each other. The setting for most of Part One is Australia where Carol goes to start a new life. She experiences life in Sydney and the Outback. She meets a young Australian who goes to fight in Vietnam and returns to haunt her. Peter is dispatched to Australia as part of naval task group. He has adventures both naval and sensual before finding and falling in love again with Carol.
Part Two opens in 1981 and introduces Nick Wells an International Airline Steward whose career takes him all over the world and into interesting situations, both on and off the aircraft. Nick is re-united with his father only to find they have nothing in common except for the woman his father married.