The Reverend Roger Markel is a reluctant priest. He is a scholar who wants to return to academia. Beset with doubts, he does not feel competent to lead the spiritual life of his people. He manages, however, to get to know his parish. He shares in the joys, celebrations and tragedies of a small community.
But the community will not stay small. Bold moves are afoot to develop the district and even to protect the low-lying properties from the rising sea. Land values change. Speculators look for money-making opportunities. Roger Markel sees that within his pleasant congregation dark forces are arising. The friendships, camaraderie, and co-operation which defined his church, now include pride, greed, envy and, ultimately, murder.