From the shores of Ireland, Cormac O'Connor sets out on a fateful journey to avenge the deaths of his parents and honour the code of his ancestors. His quest brings him to the settlement of New York, seething with tensions between English and Irish, whites and blacks, British and Americans, where he is swept up in a tide of conspiracy and violence. In return for aiding an African shaman who was brought to America in chains, Cormac is given an otherworldly gift: he will live forever - as long as he never leaves the island of Manhattan.A writer, a painter, and a man of sensual appetites, Cormac takes part in the dramas of his times through fat years and lean. Through it all, Cormac must fight, generation after generation, a force of evil that returns relentlessly in the scions of a single family. It is a family whose path first crossed his in Ireland and whose persistence puts at risk all his hopes for fulfilling his destiny. As he searches out these blood enemies, he must watch everyone he touches slip away. And so he seeks the mysterious dark lady who alone can free him from the blessing and the curse of his long life.