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The novel is narrated by Charles Marlow, but is characterized by a complex, nested narrative in which different narrators take up the story at different points. The narrators describe and attempt to interpret various episodes in the life of Miss de Barral, the daughter of a convicted swindler named Smith de Barral. Miss de Barral leads a sheltered life while her father is prosperous, then must rely on the generosity of others, who resent her or have agendas for her, before she escapes by marrying one Captain Anthony. Much of the book involves the musing of the various narrators over what she and the Captain expected from this union, and what they actually got from it. When her father is released from prison, he joins them on ship, and the book heads towards its denouement. Breaking away from the tradition, Chance dealt with social issues surrounding feminism and financial speculation enacted by Mrs. Fyne and Flora de Barral, as presented by the narrators. The storyline of the novel oscillates between human-will and activity juxtaposed with an apathetic force that can nullify the importance of human action.