Sapphire-eyed Damaris St. Cloud, born an impoverished aristocrat, is a democrat at heart, but her circumstances as a Regency belle do little to bring this out until--halfway through this hefty romance--she gets to the U.S. First, however, comes marriage at 16 to the Duke of Malfrey--a coldblooded man tormented by a long, term incestuous passion for his sister. This does little to awaken Damaris' fires, and she can't sublimate them in mother-love because the Duke, an eccentric type, won't let her near her own children. So when being the toast of the ton palls (especially after she is drugged and nearly raped by Prinny himself), Damaris runs away with the fascinating French blueblood, the Marquis St. Egremont, who also happens to be a spy for Napoleon. When Boney's star falls, the sinful pair runs to Connecticut, where the Marquis, a spoiled brat at heart, betrays Damaris with a servant girl and the U.S. with Aaron Burr. Add to this a near-rape on shipboard, a bloody Indian attack complete with scalpings, and a ducky interlude wherein Damaris is almost ridden out of Litchfield on a rail for adultery--plus numerous bedroom scenes, and innumerable rescues by Howard Booth, sexy American entrepreneur--and you have a nice hot fire that could keep the water boiling in this pot almost indefinitely.