Ellie Jeffreys arrives in Darjeeling with her British husband, en route to Kathmandu. They have ten-month-old, golden-haired twins, and despite appearing to be a happy family, Ellie’s relationship with the overbearing, philandering Francis is disintegrating.
At a cocktail party, Ellie meets Hugh Douglas, a maverick explorer and botanist. Despite the rumours surrounding Hugh, Ellie is drawn to him. A year later, Nepal is devastated by a catastrophic earthquake and in a falling building, Ellie is forced to make an instant, and terrible, decision: she has time to save only one of her children. When she returns for her son’s body the next day, it has gone. Ellie knows he cannot have disappeared; someone, somewhere has her child, and it is to Hugh that she turns for help.