This second book takes the story from the birth of Ross and Demelza’s first child up till the shipwreck that feeds the starving miners. Ross forms a secret cooperative The Carnmore Copper Company with other leading men in Cornwall to push up the price of copper so that the mining communities won’t starve and be stuck in poverty or sent to the debt houses. The rift between Ross and George Warleggan starts here as Ross refuses to bank with the dominant Cornish Warleggan bank but goes to their smaller rival Pascoes Bank. Ross also discovers that George’s cousin has been cheating at cards and cheating men (including himself and Cousin Francis) out of a lot of money and he throws George’s cousin in the river ( a public humiliation during a party).
Meanwhile Dr Dwight Enys is introduced as a new character, and unlike the TV series he isn’t the same age and already a fried of Ross. In the book he is just out of medical school, whereas Ross is in his late twenties. Dwight befriends Ross and falls for a local miner’s gipsy wife and she gets killed by her cuckolded husband who has to flee to France to escape the authorities.
Demelza still in her teens, grows into becoming a lady and is the belle of the ball. Male gentry fawn over her, and Ross doesn’t notice or take the situation seriously. Demelza is sad to see Verity becoming an old spinster so she conspires to put Verity and Captain Blamey together, leading to Verity eloping, Francis falling out with Ross spectacularly and Francis spills the secret of who is in the Carnmore Copper Company to George. George sets about destroying the cooperative. This is the first strain on the marriage of Ross and Demelza. Elizabeth is the ongoing strain for Demelza always sees Elizabeth as a rival.
Ross has to borrow loans and is very far in debt after the company has been wound down. When one windy and rainy day in the middle of a harsh winter, an East India ship captained by Verity’s husband Blamey and owned by George is shipwrecked on Ross’s beach Nampara, he takes revenge by encouraging all the local miners and their families to loot the contents to keep starvation at bay. Then a second ship also gets wrecked and in the end about a thousand miners are looting the two ships and the constables start to suspect Ross.
This second book has a lot more action than the first and is quite gripping!