England 1852. The middle classes, now wealthier than many established aristocratic families, are demanding social equality and more say in running the country. When one of the Prime Minister’s main critics is found dead under questionable circumstances, suspicion falls upon a group of extreme Radicals and Jacob Morton, Earl of Torbay, is tasked with investigating.
At Jake’s request, Olivia Grantley befriends Amelia Armitage, a young middle-class woman whose father has links to the Radicals. When Mabel Lloyd, a worker at the Armitage Glassworks who is pregnant with Amelia’s brother’s child, also falls into Jake and Olivia’s hands, the lines of the established social divide become ill-defined.
When Amelia refuses an advantageous offer of marriage, she runs to Olivia to avoid her father’s wrath and to protect her trust fund from being exploited by Radical opportunists. Jake’s friend Lord Fergus Willard is impressed by the spirited young woman’s determination and takes it upon himself to protect her. With the disappearance of Mabel’s father and the prospect of a more daring attack by the Radicals in the offing, Jake and Olivia struggle to stay one step ahead of their enemies.
Will Jake and Olivia finally succumb to the sparks of their long-held passion? Will Jake obey his political masters? Or will he follow his conscience and rescue Mabel’s father from the hands of desperate men…