Candida Mulliner and Leo Young have been the closest of friends since university, living together but loving separately. When Candida dies after a long illness, she leaves her five-year-old daughter, Pagan, in Leo's care. Candida's adoptive parents are horrified. Opposed to a gay man raising a child, they challenge Leo's guardianship in the courts. As Leo fights for his and Pagan's rights, he finds himself isolated, vilified, and, ultimately, arrested. Meanwhile, he sets out to discover the truth about Candida, the cause of her estrangement from her adoptive parents, the identity of her natural mother, and the reasons for her refusal to name Pagan's father. Michael Arditti's moving, passionate, and provocative novel is a powerful exploration of the nature of parenthood and meaning of family life.