On the eve of the Second World War, two unlikely people get married: Tom McQuade, a relentlessly driven medical student, and Virginia Russell, an exotic mind-reading magician.
The McQuades move to Boston where Tom enters a prestigious surgical residency and they celebrate the birth of their son David.
The war destroys the McQuade's idyllic life together. Tom is drafted and shipped off to the South Pacific where, during the horrific Battle of Peleliu, he sustains a gunshot wound that destroys his medical ambitions and eventually drives Virginia and David from him.
Forty years later, when David is a powerful San Francisco trial lawyer and Tom is in the early stages of dementia, father and son reconnect. For the first time, David learns the liberating force and redemptive power of truth.