Thomas Mallen of High Banks Hall had many sons, most of them bastards. But to all of them he passed on his mark - a distinctive flash of white hair running to the left temple, known as the Mallen Streak. It was said that those who bore the Streak seldom reached old age and that nothing good ever came of a Mallen. In 1851, Thomas Mallen found himself a ruined man, forced amid scandal and disgrace, to sell the Hall. With him went his two young wards and their indomitable governess. Then the Radlet brothers of Wilbur Farm arrived, one of whom bore the unmistakable Mallen Streak.