Prim, an aid-worker in the Sudan, is contacted by her sister Dimp, who is back in Australia. She has come into possession of revealing documents concerning their ancestors: transported from Manchester, their great-grandfather was the son of a convict, while their great grandmother was not only a convict too, but Jewish. As the story unfolds, through letters and a journal, of how John Bettany made his fortune, and of Sarah's time in the notorious Female Factory, the sisters gain new perspectives on their roots. And as Prim's travels progress, she realises that her life is paralleling the perilous paths taken by her great-grandmother, and her enthusiasms and loves as well. A compelling portrait of the white origins of Australia, and of two adventurous, spirited young women, one hundred and fifty years apart.