The tale of the two Transylvanian cousins, their loves, and their very different fortunes continues in this second volume of the Transylvanian trilogy. Balint Abady is forced to part from the beautiful and unhappily married Adrienne Uzdy, while Lazlo Gyeroffy is rapidly heading for self-destruction through excessive drinking and his own fecklessness. Politicians, quarreling among themselves and stubbornly ignoring their countrymen's real needs, are still pursuing their vendetta with the Habsburg rule of Hungary from Vienna. Meanwhile, they fail to notice how the Great Powers-through such events as Austria's annexation of Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1908-are moving ever closer to the conflagration of 1914-1918 that will destroy their world forever. Contrasting a life of privilege and corruption with the lives and problems of an expatriate Romanian peasant minority whom Balint tries to help, this portrait is an unrivalled evocation of a rich and fascinating aristocratic world oblivious of its impending demise.