Hector Ross returns from Burma after working as an engineer in the Far East for twenty years. His roots are Highland and he feels a strong desire to bring some benefit to his native glens. The scheme to raise Loch Luineag by constructing a hydro-electric dam seems ideally suited for his purpose and he is taken on for the project, which is already under way.
Soon there is evidence that not everyone is so enthusiastic about the new hydro-electric scheme. A series of attempts to sabotage the project make Hector look more closely at the minister's son, Ken Mac Leod, and then at his forthright but undeniably attractive sister, Catriona.
Very soon he discovers that Sir Willoughby Jeffs, the owner of the neighbouring glen, is not quite the local benefactor that he appears to be, and that much bigger business is at stake. Hector Ross finds that there are larger issues to confront as well as the problems of constructing a huge dam and its watercourse.
Nigel Tranter's narrative is gripping and conveys realistically the problems of constructing hydro-electric workings in such inhospitable terrain. The portrait of Hector Ross, a practical, professional man with an inconveniently large conscience, is a memorable one and very relevant to the times in which we live.