Where some authors might set out a cast of characters that interlink and drive the narrative forward Powell tends to use family as a device. It is the same in Dance to the Music of Time but what he does here is clearly more limited. It moves around the Pimley family.
Initially the link is childhood memories and Hudson, who is engaged to one of the two daughters Beryl. But there is a black sheep in the family Alec and he turns out to be the mysterious T.T Waring.
The problem with Waring is not so much him being alive - something he might not be anymore as the result of a storm - but the fact that Hudson has discovered he is a plagarist.
Meanwhile, the narrator's boss has become a follower of a sect and the femme fatale Roberta continues to weave her spell.