A dangerous rescue attempt in Michigan has captured the attention of the entire country. A two-year-old girl has fallen down a mine shaft. Ursula Wong is the only child of a poor family and referred to by one member of the TV audience as 'half-breed trailer trash', not worth all the expense.
But Ursula is the last of her family line and her story explodes into a gorgeous saga of culture, history and heredity. Ursula's forebears include a second-century BC Chinese alchemist; an orphaned consort to a Swedish queen; and Ursula's great-great-grandfather, Jake Maki, a miner who died in a cave-in aged twenty-nine.
Ursula's fate echoes those of her ancestors, many of whom so narrowly escaped not being born that any given individual's life comes to seem a miracle.