'Love is a disease; and one which has proved mortal to many men down the ages.' Oxford, 1887: brilliant medical student Stephen Chapman volunteers at a shelter devoted to reforming fallen women, where he meets and falls for Diana, a girl who has broken hearts and inspired deadly duels. His best friend Edward sees her as a dangerous temptress, but Stephen believes she is a wronged woman. What secrets does Diana hold, and what will happen when Stephen strays further into unknown and forbidden territory?
So begins a bloody and lusty tale of ill-lit streets and seedy taverns, of harlots and drunkards, of the highest in the land seeking out the lowest kind of depravity, of desperate murder and scandalous orgies, and of an innocent trapped in a world of passion and sin.