'Big King was at the shaft station when they heard the water coming. It sounded like an express train in a tunnel, a dull bellow of irresistible power. The water was pushing the air from the drive ahead of it, so that a hurricane of wind came roaring from the mouth of the drive, blowing out a cloud of dust and loose rubbish.' Rod Ironsides, ambitious and hard-living mining expert, knows that the general managership of the Sonder Ditch gold mine is the chance of a lifetime. But the price of unquestioning obedience to the coldly obsessive genius of Dr Manfred Steyner proves impossible to pay. Both men are but unwitting tools of powerful people for whom the control of a gold mine is only part of the realization of dreams and ambitions which include the destruction of the very mine itself.