The end of a five-year exile triggered by a violent quarrel with his father marks the return of Stevens to his native village. The small fishing community, with its inter-married inhabitants, is isolated and claustrophobic. Passions seethe beneath a surface of stern Protestant repression. Stevens, a young man with self-conscious good looks and a desperate belief in his own powers, is disdainful of the village women he attracts. Yet he pursues the only girl who resists him, Olivia Atkins, with a ravenous hunger.Tragedy, as inevitable and implacable as a sea storm, ensues.