The fire that was to change so many lives started with a single shaft of lightning. It struck on a still and moonless night and cocooned for a while in the heart of an ancient pine. The woman camped nearby with her group of troubled teenagers slept on, hearing nothing. But one among them would be lost for ever. For soon the pupa of fire would hatch and engulf the entire mountain. Into this inferno will come the Smoke Jumper. His name is Connor Ford and he falls like an angel of mercy from the sky, to save the women he loves but knows he cannot have. For Julia Bishop is the partner of his closest friend, ambitious young musician Ed Tully. Julia loves them both but the tragedy on Snake Mountain forces her to choose between them. Reckless of a life he no longer wants, Connor again and again dares death to take him, until another fateful day, when he must walk through fire once more for Julia, her child, and all that he holds dear.