Much of northern China is now under Japanese control. In Beiping, food prices are soaring, the people are going hungry and the streets are teeming with refugees. Chiang Kai-shek’s Kuomintang army are holding out in central and southwestern China, unable to land a serious blow on the enemy and squandering precious time fighting the Communists. Qi Yuexuan, the sole scion of a distinguished family, has forsworn his life of indolence to lead a small band of villagers in resisting the invading forces. Back in Beiping, his son-in-law Chenglong is prospering, having thrown in his lot with Japanese military intelligence. The saga enters its second half, and the Republic of China’s crisis intensifies. The old way of life is all but gone. Now every surviving branch of the once-great Qi family must face the questions that remain: what will the future hold, how can we shape it and will we live to see it?