Left a young widow by the Great War, the resourceful Pamela goes to work for the Jarvises, a charmingly eccentric couple whose elegant Highgate house is a mecca for artists. She is particularly drawn to the work of waiflike, Suzannah Murchie, whose powerful portraits adorn the Jarvises' walls, and to the subject of one of the portraits, John Ashe.
Ashe is a man of contradictions-handsome, but horribly disfigured; ruthless, but charitable; influential, but secretive. When she agrees to work for him, Pamela is only half aware that she is entering into a pact with the devil-a pact which she gradually determines to turn to her own advantage . . .
For Ashe has gained wealth and influence by preying on the weaknesses of others, and although Pamela keeps her distance from his activities, she cannot avoid being tainted by them.
Against a background of 'twenties London, Sarah Harrison's rich and engrossing novel charts an independent-minded woman's discovery of the nature of power, and the price of peace.