Edgar Pascoe is a highly successful and charismatic cardiac surgeon. Pre-eminent in his field, he is the embodiment of the upper echelons of medicine: urbane, assured, supremely confident in his own abilities. But he is not infallible - either in the operating theatre or in his private life with his divided family. Edgar's wife Lileth, a dedicated and compassionate country GP, is increasingly drawn to the holistic arts of healing still practiced in the East, but scorned by purveyors of Western technology. As their professional ideals and methods clash, so inevitably does their relationship. Nicola is Edgar's favoured child, ruthless and unscrupulous in her ambition to emulate her illustrious father. But it is in China, heading a medical delegation, that Edgar is confronted by an ethical dilemma over the abuse of human rights and is forced into a painful moral awakening which will prove to affect every area of his life.