The society ball was George Cautley's introduction to the London he had dreamed about, a world of wealth, beauty, and wit, of patrons and scoundrels. It would also be his introduction to the mysterious and beautiful Lady Petronella Beauclair (and through her the castrato singer Tristano), to seduction and mystery - and ultimately to crimes the son of a clergyman could never have imagined. A gypsy fortune teller had predicted at his birth that Cautley would become a wealthy merchant or noble statesman; his parents assumed that he would follow in his father's footsteps. Fate, however, had other things in store for him.
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