Edinburgh—1822. The city is at the height of its power, and its prestigious medical schools draw in students from across Great Britain and Europe.
Alongside the eager students and high-class society, however, lies the Old Town. There, prostitutes and resurrection men ply their trade. The dark, narrow streets are witness to both destitution and daily violence.
Catriona “Kate” Dunbar lives in the Old Town with her young brother Andrew. Both are slaves in all but name to their grasping aunt and abusive uncle, Chrissie and Michael Graham. The Grahams run an oyster cellar in the dark vaults of the Cowgate. Kate spends her days working in the cellar. At night, she endures Michael Graham’s lecherous advances.
When Kate meets Richard Hope, an unlikely romance develops. Wealthy, handsome, and intelligent, the young medical student falls for Kate immediately. Where Kate sees love, her avaricious relatives see the potential for extortion and gold—launching a scheme that threatens to come between the two lovers