Having been lured from Manchester to Grimsdyke, his Uncle Gideon's isolated country house, Kit Standish narrowly escapes death at the hands of Gideon's unsavory confederates, Nathan and Ratcatcher. Kit flees Grimsdyke in the company of a good samaritan laborer, Mad Jack, who hides him in remote bogs and coal pits and helps him track down Gideon's motives for wanting his nephew murdered. There's no end of close calls, though Kit does snatch a minute here and there to debate Parliamentary Reform (this is several years after the Duke whomped Boney); to see his first cockfight (appalling) and help Mad Jack clear a mineshaft of firedamp. Later it develops that the mineral rights Uncle Gideon hoped to keep all to himself are worthless. . . and Gideon isn't the only one who's acted hastily, as the impromptu intrigue and period sightseeing seem to be haphazardly thrown together. Rather a waste of good material, although readers who like to keep active will find Kit suitable company.