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When successful businessman Albert Cowgill and his family move into Byland Crescent in the genteel resort of Scarborough, it seems the culmination of his boyhood ambitions. Having battled from extreme poverty to affluence he could scarcely have imagined, Albert expected the lifestyle would continue; a hope shared by his business partners.
However, fuelled by tragedy and misunderstandings and betrayed by their own passionate character, discord within the family causes irreparable divisions that reverberate through their business and far beyond.
Events elsewhere stoke the fires of international confrontation, and soon their comfortable existence will be destroyed in a maelstrom of violence the like of which has never been seen before.
As World War 1 looms, they are unaware that it will signal a requiem for a generation.