After her husband, Elton Trueblood, abandons her after she refuses an abortion, Branwyn Beerman gives birth to her child, whom she later names Thomas. Thomas is born with a hole in his lung, and is given a dire prognosis by the hospital's head paediatrician. While Thomas is in the hospital, she falls in love with a white heart surgeon, Dr. Minas Nolan, whose wife had died due to complications giving birth to an abnormally large and strong "NordicAdonis" named Eric. Branwyn takes Thomas home in defiance of the hospital, but Thomas survives, living with Eric under one roof, and, while different in every respect, they build a strong friendship as children. They are both cared for by a Vietnamesenanny, Ahn. Their pleasant state of affairs takes a turn for the worse after Elton returns. Branwyn perishes soon after, leaving Thomas in Elton's hands due to her unmarried status. While Thomas is forced to eke out an existence in the slums, dealing drugs and being sent to jail, Eric goes to college and has no trouble attracting women. However, Eric is also faced with problems as he confronts the consequences of his actions. After years apart, they later reunite and solve their problems together.