On the English moors of Hillsden, Sydney Robbinson learns painfully the emotional value of money and status from the taunts and abuses of his more fortunate neighbors. A virile and energetic young man, he determines that Alan, the son born of lust, will not bear the shame he has known, but with money will find power and position. Shrewd and morally nihilistic, he sets about building a financial dynasty for this weakling son. Only in an illicit love does he deviate from the single minded pursuit of wealth, and though the love endures for years, it, too, is finally sacrificed to his obsession. Left with nothing but his dedication to his son, Robbo becomes at last the victim of his ambition when Alan, emasculated by the fierce determination of his father, commits a hysterical murder. An early crime of Robbo emerges, the crime which first put him on the path of financial success, and through this crime Alan's guilt, accidentally, is established. In a final assertion of love, Robbo assumes blame for Alan's crime and though Alan dies, Robbo's guilt is mournfully expiated. A romantically ironic story, palely reminiscent of Hardy and George Eliot, this will have a sombre appeal to women readers who believe that crime does not pay, but feel a strong sentimental attachment to the criminal-victim.