Rose Tremain’s new novel begins in southern France with a young girl discovering something horrible in a secluded pool. Although no details are given, the perceptive reader will deduce that she has come across a body. The story then backtracks to introduce two sets of ageing siblings, Anthony and Veronica Verey and Aramon and Audrun Lunel, whose lives will unexpectedly collide in an isolated farmhouse in the Cévennes. As their histories unfold, it becomes evident that both Anthony and Aramon are deeply hated. Will one of them turn out to be the nasty item in the pool?