The feud between the well-to-do Warwycks and Radcliffes in Victorian English Sussex (set boiling in Laker's two previous volumes) is now in full steam; but young Tom Warwyck, determined on a career in shipbuilding rather than the family's empire of ""wheels and looms,"" will carry on loving pretty Nicolette Radcliffe in spite of blasts from both family fortresses. Meanwhile, back at the Warwyck mÃ‰nage (the Warwycks are rather nicer than the Radcliffes, who are beaded by mean old crone Olivia), Tom's father Richard is having his problems: married to Meg, once a fisherman's daughter and now a sloppy alcoholic, Richard is having a lustful fling with hotcakes Catherine Meredith, hired by Richard's sister Donna to companion Meg. Evil Catherine sets fire to the house to get rid of Meg, but Meg is rescued by decent Donna (who dies)--and Richard, now knowing All, turns Catherine out and turns to Helen Edenfield, who was to have become engaged to Richard's weak son Jeremy. Meanwhile, waters rise on the seacoast, Tom and Nicolette are trapped in a seaside pavilion--and the feuding families vow that if the lovers ever escape there'll be a feud-ending wedding. A gossipy, unfocused (apparent) Final volume, but certainly essential reading for the Laker series followers.