Rick sets out to explore the life of his father, Eric, who tragically took his own life in the 1960s. He traces the causes of his father's manic depression, exploring the racial abuse he suffered as a child during the First World War due to his German ancestry, and the electric shock therapy he received as an adult.
Before marrying Eric, Rick's mother Dorothy had a brief marriage to a man she met while studying at Cambridge University. Rick researches his mother's early life and her time at Newnham College, Cambridge. He explores the story of her first marriage, and talks to his half-brother Jeremy, the child Dorothy was sadly forced to leave behind when she married Eric.
Finally, Rick travels to China in the footsteps of his great-grandfather Henry Parkes, a 19th century Methodist missionary. Henry was one of the first missionaries to travel into China after the Opium Wars. Rick learns of the harsh conditions in which Henry lived and the personal tragedy he suffered.
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