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The year is 1820 and England has fought its last victorious battle against the French. Rider Sandman, a hero of Waterloo, has finally returned to London to wed his young bride. But instead of being able to settle down to his fame and glory, he finds himself penniless in a country where unemployment and social unrest are raging high, and where men—innocent or guilty—are hung for the merest of crimes. Thus, when the Home Secretary offers him a job as private investigator—to re-open the case of a death-row candidate accused of murder—Sandman readily accepts, as much for the money as for a chance to see justice being done in a country gone to ruins. Soon, however, he is up to his elbows in grisly a murder plot that keeps thickening as Sandman makes his way through gentleman's clubs and shady taverns, aristocratic mansions and fashionable painters studios, unerringly determined to rescue the innocent young man from the the rope. But someone doesn't want the truth revealed ...