Nine-year old Adam is orphaned when his father is buried during an Australian desert sandstorm. A childhood of roaming the outback with his father's drilling partner instills in him a fierce determination to have a place of his own. In this fast-paced, gripping saga, the reader follows the hard-working Adam and his mates, Jimmy, the practical aboriginal, and Josef, the impetuous young German immigrant, from the opal mines to the desert. They feint with death in mine disasters, at the hands of Mailey, the revenge-seeking law officer, and in the ravages of flash floods. A more deadly threat for Adam is his beautiful, calculating, near-mad wife, but a seductive half-caste woman lends her own type of danger to all of the men.