A historical novel set mainly in Ceredigion, Wales, with twin themes of local industry and romance. Dafydd, a young lead miner, is forced to flee after a violent confrontation with a group of bullies.
He runs to the port of Aberystwyth where an acquaintance, Gwen, helps him and he slowly begins to rebuild his life. After a fire destroys his employer’s business, he is sent to nearby Talybont to help in the building of a new railway. An opportunity arises for an apprenticeship in Stafford and Dafydd begs Gwen to come with him, but she refuses, promising to wait for him.
Eventually Dafydd gets the chance to return to Aberystwyth and work on the building of the new Rheidol railway. Very soon he is faced by three dilemmas: How to progress as a railwayman, how to reconnect with his family and how to find Gwen.
When he finds her, she has met another, more well-to-do, man. He is left with the seemingly impossible task of trying to win her back.
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