The novelist R. F. Delderfield's trilogy of English life in the second half of the nineteenth century portrays the social history of Adam Swann and his family, energetic people of differing talents and tempers involved in a kaleidoscopic range of social engagements. Born into a military family but shaken by his army experience in India, Adam returns to civilian life in England and creates an innovative goods-hauling service across the country. Adam's ten children are also innovators who provide the intellectual activity expressed by the phrase The Ethos of Britain. In the novels a whole country is energized by a handful of individuals who recognize and set out to solve a wide range of social problems - such as, teenage girls being abducted into continental brothels, miners killed or maimed by underground hazards, factory hands enduring long hours tending unsafe machinery, and elderly couples evicted from their homes, separated, and starved. As Adam's observant wife Henrietta expresses it, wherever there's a problem you're sure to find a Swann or two. The Swann trilogy dramatizes a half-century of British dominance in Europe prior to the First World War as represented by the members of a single English family.