This is, intentionally, a view of Victorian life stretching from the destitution of the streets to the 'rot-gutting' horror of the Sepoy Rebellion in 1857 when three English regiments were stationed in Meerut, ""rivet in the gateway to central India,"" just before the loss of Delhi. As a novel, it stands or rather falls on the tremendous amount of contemporary detail massed under its cummerbund and it makes only a half-hearted attempt to tell a story in following the career of Joseph Dando, one of the 60th 'ridgement.' Thus here and there, mostly flashing backwards, you will learn of his charity waif childhood, his jobs in domestic service, and his one experience with Hannah, a nice fallen woman, when he was in the household of a Colonel's Lady, Mrs. Finnis. At the near close, starving, she will offer herself for five rupees to an overpowering Sikh. In between, there are all the literal, bleedin', soddin' facts of life at this time (it would be difficult to take a hard nose count of either word) along with a glossary and a bibliography. Just as it was, no doubt, in the service of the Queen and on into another valley of death.