Summary: Chapter 1

Howard Roark finds hard but satisfying work at the Francon granite quarry. Dominique lives alone on her father’s estate, a few miles from the quarry. She spends most of her time walking through the countryside. On one particularly hot day she visits her father’s quarry. There she sees Roark drilling away at the rock. Their eyes meet and his gaze is one of ownership. She immediately hates him because she knows she could fall in love with him. Later, Dominique fights the desire to visit the quarry again but cannot help herself. Roark looks at her with the same intense gaze. Several days later, they meet at the quarry. Their first real encounter is intimate. Dominique wants to know that Roark suffers and asks him if the work is tiresome. Roark tells her that sometimes he cannot move his arms at night. Dominique asks him why he works there and he replies that he is there for the money she pays him.

Summary: Chapter 2

Every day, Dominique fights the compulsion to visit Roark. She eventually begins to feel safe in her house, but wants to test her resolve. Dominique makes a long scratch in the marble fireplace and hires Roark to repair the damage. He casually agrees to come, making her weak with shame and pleasure. When Roark arrives at Dominique’s house, he splits the marble and offers to order a new piece of stone. When the marble arrives, Dominique sends for Roark, but he sends an old laborer in his place. Later, at the quarry, Dominique asks Roark why he sent the other worker, and he wonders why she cares. Three evenings later, Dominique is sitting in her bedroom when Roark enters. He takes her in his arms roughly. She fights him, but he overpowers her. Roark then rapes her like “a master taking shameful, contemptuous possession” of a slave. Dominique realizes that this humiliation is exactly what she wants and that if Roark had behaved tenderly, she would have remained cold. Roark leaves without a word.

A week later, an industrialist named Roger Enright hires Roark and Roark leaves for New York. When Dominique discovers that Roark has left, she feels relief that she is no longer vulnerable, and reasons that she will never see him again.

Summary: Chapter 3

Peter Keating is enjoying his newfound success when he receives an envelope from Ellsworth Toohey. Inside the envelope is a draft of Toohey’s next column, a dazzling tribute to Keating and his work. Toohey also encloses a request for a meeting with Keating. Later that day, Keating learns that a sculptor named Stephen Mallory has tried to kill Toohey. Keating’s first reaction to this news is to wonder whether Toohey’s article will still be published. The attack leaves Toohey uninjured. Keating visits Toohey as soon as he can. A thin, narrow-chested, fragile little man, Toohey is not at all what Keating expected, but the two men get along well. Toohey asks Keating to join an informal group of young architects Toohey is putting together. He tells Keating that the group will meet once in a while to share ideas, and that Keating can be chairman.

Summary: Chapter 4

Toohey invites Keating to tea. Katie is there, but she sits silently staring into space. Toohey interrogates Keating about Roark, even though Toohey has never mentioned Roark in his column. Toohey also arranges a commission for Keating. Lois Cook, a fashionable author who writes complicated but empty books, wants to build the ugliest house in New York. Keating accepts the project.

Summary: Chapter 5

Dominique returns to New York. She is at work at the Banner when Toohey visits her. He notices a picture of the Enright House on her desk. She tells him that an architect who could conceive such a beautiful thing should never allow it to be erected for people to ruin. She adds that the building is too good for men like Toohey. The Council of American Builders, Toohey’s group of architects, has a first meeting. Of its eighteen members, only two are distinguished. The members denounce the state of modern architecture but offer no suggestions for improvement. Toohey delivers a melodramatic speech that Dominique interrupts. The council members feel uncomfortable in her presence. After the meeting, Keating tries to kiss Dominique, but his advances repulse her. He demands to know whom she has met. She tells him about the workman in Connecticut.