1812. Bored with the mundane commitments of his new role as the Duke of Penrith's agent in the town of Woolbridge in Durham, returning soldier Raif Jarrett is having second thoughts about civilian life. As the Easter fairs come to town, markets where everything from ribbons to cattle is traded, the town readies itself for upheaval. The local mills are bringing in machinery, which will increase production, but jobs will be lost.
As a group of radicals begin to rail against the plight of the workers and one of the judges brings in the military as a precaution, it seems Woolbridge is headed for trouble. When Raif's young cousin comes to stay and gets involved, Raif will be forced to act to keep his family safe and his town intact. Soon enough a salesman lies dead in his bed and a radical is brutally murdered out on the hillsides.
All the while, the lovely Henrietta Lonsdale continues to capture Raif's imagination, but a visit from an old flame is sure to ruffle the lady's feathers