Laura Horton is an eighteen-year-old inmate in a notorious House of Correction, where she is repeatedly flogged for the amusement of paying guests. One night, whilst confined to a punishment cell, she makes her escape only to fall prey to an unlikely assortment of thieves, vagabonds and confidence tricksters. Her honour is under constant assault as she flounders from one disaster to the next, narrowly escaping death for passing forged bank notes and tricked into entering a notorious brothel in Shadwell. Her one mission is to be restored to her family, but the restoration proves hard and painful along a road where every man and woman seems bent on taking her virginity. Will her courage keep her intact, or will she eventually succumb to the dark denizens of mid-Victorian London?