From the Sinn Fein in her native Ireland to the Knights of the White Camellia in Reconstruction New Orleans, haft-gypsy Maeve Heron aids every rebel group she can, being a rebellious type herself. Her political acumen may not be equal to her passion, but it hardly matters, since her beauty--milk-white skin, eyes that change color, etc.--gets her out of trouble with every man she meets. Checkers in her career include having to flee Ireland with a dying husband (an aristocratic, impotent, would-be heterosexual); being a chambermaid in a whorehouse; starring in a murder trial; and being seduced and betrayed. Throughout, Maeve has three loves: the stage (she's a swell Shakesperean actress) and two fellas--Fingal Pearse, the sea captain who first deflowers her (cruel, but a beautiful bod), and Capt. William Morgan, a New York blueblood who risks all for love, showers her with jewels, and whose ""muscular body was like that of a classical statue of an antique youth."" Maeve has her beefcake and eats it too, as will readers who like their warmed-over blarney dunked in tepid Southern Comfort.