Claudia Hampton is a popular historian, a strong, beautiful and difficult woman. Now in her seventies, she is plotting her greatest work - a history of the world. She looks back over her life growing up between the wars and remembers the people who have shared its triumphs and tragedies. There is Gordon, her adored brother; Jasper, the charming, untrustworthy lover and father of her daughter, and Tom, her one great love, both found and lost during the El Alamein campaign when she worked as a war correspondent. Against a background of world events, Claudia's own remarkable story provokes a sharp combination of sadness, shock and amusement.