Ben Dalton, an ex-communist from the 1940s, tries to escape his past and begin life anew by moving his family to an idyllic small town in the beautiful White Mountains of New Hampshire. For ten years, he succeeds in denying his past--both to himself and to the townspeople--but eventually it catches up with him. As his secret leaks out, Ben and his family become the targets of an escalating series of attacks including blackmail, attempted rape, and arson. Between assaults, Ben tries to put himself and his life back together, but he's defeated at every turn. And while no one's paying attention, his daughter crosses the threshold into adolescence. All attempts to rein her in are too little and too late, and her dawning adolescent rebellion explodes into full-blown insurrection. In the end, two people are dead, three teenagers are missing, and the fine stitching that holds the family and the town together begins to unravel.