'To his fellow residents on the remote Western coast of Scotland, Major-General Heatherstone's behaviour seems far from orthodox. Spurning all attempts at friendship, he instead becomes a recluse, barricading himself in Cloomber Hall, and forbidding his children even to leave their home. Yet unknown to him, they strike up a friendship with the neighbouring Hunter Wests, who become increasingly intrigued by the general's paranoia, and, in particular, his recurring fear of the fifth of October. As September draws to a close, and as they hear of the mysterious arrival of three Buddhist monks, they can only watch in vain, as it seems the secrets of the past cannot be laid to rest until vengeance is done. ...'