Rupert, the Marquess of Mercat is the new master of what remains of a once-glorious estate. His father Henry’s misconduct of his life and his land have left Rupert with no choice but to sell as much as possible to pay off his father’s debts and provide for his mother. But the aristocracy all believe that his father’s misdeeds are Rupert’s own, and he is ostracized by them and called ‘the prodigal marquess’.
Aware that his leaving the country will only increase such talk, Rupert nevertheless knows his only option is to go to America and try to make his own fortune. He must leave his mother, his home, all vestige of his status, and the woman that he loves, to work in a filthy coal mine, risking life and limb and laboring each day beside commoners.
Unbeknownst to him, his mother and fiancée are being threatened by a so-called creditor of Henry’s. Will he be able to recover his fortune and restore his good name and his estate? And will he return home a rich man, only to find that everything he loves has been taken from him?