Felicia and Edgar meet as their mothers are dying. Felicia, a teen from an island nation, and Edgar, the lazy heir of a wealthy German family, come together only because their mothers share a hospital room. Felicia's mother dies and Edgar's "Mutter" does not--not right away, anyway. While Felicia and Edgar don't quite understand each other, and Felicia recognizes that Edgar is selfish, arrogant, and often unkind, they form a bond built on grief (and proximity) that results in the birth of a son Felicia calls Armistice. Army, for short. Some years later, Felicia and Army (now 14) are living in the basement of a home owned by Oliver, a man of Portuguese descent who works a gripe about his ex-wife into any conversation. Oliver has two kids, the teenaged Heather and the odd little Hendrix, and these three, along with Felicia and Army, form an unconventional family. Army has never met his father, but his fascination with his absent father--and his absent father's money--begins to grow as odd gifts from Edgar begin to show up (like a case of Jolly Ranchers and some red shoelaces). And Felicia, who has kept her distance from the man, feels Edgar's shadow looming over them.