Before she became the immortal and haunting Miss Havisham of Great Expectations, she was Catherine, a young woman with all of her dreams ahead of her. Spry, Imperious, she is the daughter of a wealthy brewer. But she is never far from the smell of hops and the arresting letters on the brewhouse wall- HAVISHAM- a reminder of all she owes to the family name and the family business. Sent by her father to stay with the Chadwycks, Catherine discovers elegant pastimes to remove the taint of her family's money. But for all her growing sophistication, Catherine is anything but worldly, and when a charismatic stranger pays her attention, everything- her heart, her future, the very Havisham name- is vulnerable.
Upon the death of her demonic husband, Hester Prynne is left a widow, and her daughter Pearl, a wealthy heiress. Hester takes her daughter to live a quiet life in England- only to find herself drawn into the circle of the most powerful Puritan of all time- Cromwell. From the moment Hester donned the famous scarlet letter, it instilled in her the power to see the sins and hypocrisy of others, an ability not lost on the Lord Protector of the Commonwealth. To Cromwell, Hester's sight is either a sign of sorcery or a divine gift that Hester must use to assist the divinely chosen in his scheming to control England. Since sorcery carries a death sentence, Hester is compelled against her will to use her sight to assist Cromwell. She soon find herself entangled in a web of political intrigue, espionage, and forbidden love.
In this irresistibly imagined below stairs answer to Pride and Prejudice, the servants take center stage. Sarah, the orphaned housemaid, spends her days scrubbing the laundry, polishing the floors, and emptying the chamber pots for the Bennet household. But there is just as much romance, heartbreak, and intrigue downstairs at Longbourn as there is upstairs. When a mysterious new footman arrives, the orderly realm of the servants' hall threatens to be completely, perhaps irrevocably upended.
China Mieville was inspired by the classic, Moby Dick by Herman Melville, to write a tale about a giant mole bursting from the earth, the harpoonists targeting their prey, the battle resulting in one's death and the other's glory.