Shades, murky ones, of Thomas Hardy: farmer Farringdon is auctioning off his wife Kate at the Brighton Fair. The buyer is Regency boxer Daniel Warwyck, who's eager to thwart his younger brother Harry (who has fallen hard for the damsel in distress) and to impress his wicked old uncle (who has disowned him for the sin of pugilism). Daniel is training to become Champion of England and is the favorite of the Fancy. Despite his newbought married state, he falls hard for bewitchingly sensual young lady Claudine Clayton when he sees her at the ring--and when uncle disinherits him, he vows to make his fortune in land speculation, building a posh seaside resort near Claudine's home in Easthampton. Who will win Daniel's love, Kate or Claudine? Who will win the Championship? Can you ask? This one neither floats like a butterfly nor stings like a bee but plods along like an old carthorse.