Charting the destruction and ultimate resurrection of a family, an anonymous 'Father-Confessor' figure relays the 'confessions' of the Goode family: Phineas (a one-time bookshop owner) and Maggie (an artist), their daughters Gwynne and Viviane, and Allie Finlay, Phineas' ex-mistress . . . along with the sixth tale - of the dead Dr Jabz Reemie, etymologist and former mentor to Phineas, whose own part in the story is gradually revealed.As the stories interweave, they continually present a reinterpretation of each character's relative burden of guilt. Who is really guilty and what are they guilty of? It is Dr Reemie's tale, along with Viviane's recovered childhood memories, that ultimately reveal the dark secrets of Castle Keep, the family home: shocking truths with which the Goodes come to terms, eventually emerging strengthened and reconciled.