Quentin Compson and Shreve his Harvard room-mate are obsessed by the tragic rise and fall of Thomas Sutpen. As a poor white boy Sutpen was turned away from a plantation owner’s mansion by a negro butler. From then on he was determined to force his way into the upper echelons of Southern society. His relentless will ensures his ambitions are soon realised land marriage children. But in after the chaos of Civil War secrets from his own past threaten to destroy everything he has worked for.