At the now legendary Duchess of Richmond's ball on the eve of the Battle of Waterloo, young lovers Sophia Trenchard and Edmund Bellasis forge an ill-fated legacy that will create scandal for generations to come. Some years later, when Sophia's parents, the upwardly mobile Trenchards move to the fashionable Belgravia, they find themselves rubbing shoulders with the venerated Brockenhursts. The two families share a history that threatens the inheritance and reputation of many. There are those who would prefer the secrets of the past to remain forgotten but as long-buried events resurface the truth behind the families' connection becomes hard to conceal from the great and the good of British society. Soon an expectant heir, beleaguered household staff and avaricious adulterers conspire together to reap the benefits of this familial scandal. Prejudice and potential ruin must be overcome, and faced head on, if these family dynasties are to remain secured.