'These were the nights when the German bombers growled through the sky, their bellies full with steel and cordite. When the moon was low their dark shapes and still darker shadows came over the coast. Several hours later they'd return again, wearily, lighter in weight, fewer in number, dropping the occasional bomb on the forgotten land of creeks and channels beneath them. On one of those nights it all began for me - war, after all, starts many things, and even though I wasn't born for another twenty-five years, my story began there.'
It is May 1945 and as church bells ring out Victory in Europe over the Norfolk saltmarshes, Goose's daughter Lil is born. But as Lil enters Goose's world, her father leaves it, in a makeshift boat bound - or so the story goes - for Germany, his home.
Forty years later it is Lil's son, Pip, who begins to make sense of his family's fragmented history. Who was his grandfather, who fell from the sky into Goose's life and then disappeared as suddenly as he came? What was the truth of his mother, Lil, who lived and lost her way between the creeks and the samphire? And what does it all mean for Pip, whose heritage of flood, fireworks, fish and clouds, has left him ill-prepared for life beyond the marshes?