Faced with the loss of his ancestral home following the huge increase in death duties in mid-twentieth century Britain, Michael Montayne forges an unusual enterprise with his best man, whose family turns out to have been shamefully entangled with Michael's for generations past. The Montayne's home is transformed into a private retreat, club and grand hotel for acceptable, wealthy guests who may partake of its comfort, exquisite food and wine and, above all, Michael's company - and of one or two other secret facilities - by invitation only.
This is a story of love and tenderness, humour and good humour, trust and honour, and of money and betrayal, played out by a potpourri of memorable characters from around the world and from a wide variety of backgrounds, whose adventures take us aboard canalboats and cruise liners, up a mountain and around a golf course. ‘The Hut is You!', an old friend tells Michael; if only he would believe it.