Now, in 1817, Hervey returns to an England whose hard-won peace is shaken by the distress and discord of its people. And even as he is caught up in the turbulent dawn of a new era, he must combat a deliberate attempt to orchestrate his own ruin. The honors he won in India fell short of Captain Matthew Hervey's deepest desire-to return to his beloved 6th Light Dragoons. But now circumstances allow him to resume command of the unit-and to marry the beautiful Lady Henrietta Lindsay, whom he has loved since childhood. Meanwhile, however, his soldier's heart is pierced by the sight of men in British scarlet crippled in the service of king and country, now forgotten and cast off, reduced to begging and petty crime. It is no wonder that rabble-rousers clamor for reform and that lawlessness is erupting everywhere, from the cities to the countryside.