|"Elizabeth Drummond arrives in Sydney after a difficult voyage to meet her husband-to-be for the first time. She discovers though to her dismay, that he frightens and repels her at once, and reminds her of a devil. Offered no other choice though, she marries him and is whisked once again across a wild uninhabited countryside to Alexander's own town. His town is named Kinross after himself, and in the cages above it lies the world's largest gold mine.
Feeling isolated in Alexander's great house, with no company save the Chinese servants, Elizabeth finds that the intimacies of marriage do not prompt her husband to tell her of his past life, much less his present one. She has no idea that he still has a mistress, the tough, very outspoken Ruby Costevan, whom Alex has established in his town, nor that he has also made a partner in his company. This rapidly expands his interests beyond gold. Ruby has a son, Lee, whose father is the head of the Chinese community; the boy becomes dear to Alexander, who fosters his education as a gentleman.
Alexander wants nothing more than to have both Ruby, and Elizabeth, in spite of their radically different natures. Why should he not? He has the fabled "Midas Touch"-a combination of curiosity, boldness, and intellect that he applies to every situation, and which fails him only when it comes to these two women.
Though Ruby loves Alex with all of her heart, Elizabeth does not at all. Elizabeth bears him two daughters: the brilliant Nell, so much like himself, and then there's Anna, who came out a beautiful child in appearance, but is mentally challenged. Thwarted by his desire for a son, Alex will turn to Ruby's boy Lee, as a possible heir to his empire, unaware that by keeping Lee with him, he may be courting disaster.
Boppy, Resident Scholar