It is 1889 Vienna. A world-famous piano-maker leaves a will, specifying that his heirs, if they are to receive their inheritance, must live together in the palatial family home.
The house is rapidly converted into luxury apartments, where gripping incidents in the lives of three successive generations unfold: feuds, betrayals, illegitimate offspring, seething passions, love affairs, a secret fling with the Crown Prince, world war and the rise of Nazism.
In fact, this is like the Forsyte Saga on the Danube, and it is fiendishly addictive. ‘Grown-ups can make catastrophic mistakes,’ screeches an aristocratic aunt when a nephew marries a Jewish beauty.
Mistakes are plenty as fortunes decline, along with the shimmering, glorious beauty of dignified, pre-war Vienna, with its chestnut avenues, violet meadows and lilac-lined boulevards.
All would soon be polluted when Hitler and his goose-stepping goons marched into town.