When Mary Flinders sets off on a journey that will take her from the quiet Irish countryside to the bustle of London, she has little idea of the new life about to begin. Protected on the way by the good natured navvy Steam Punch, on arriving in London she nevertheless soon falls under the sway of the captivating Lord Tottenham, who quickly introduces her to the more sordid delights of city life.
But it is with silent engineering genius Matt sullivan that Mary finds both true love and a successful business partner. Basing their talents and fortune on England's rapidly developing canal networks, Mary and Matt become a willing part of the adventurous times. Duels, races and tests of courage between both aristocrats and common men alike - all play their part in this tale of adventure and romance in 18th century England.