Thomas Gage is a happy man. He has a fine house in Norfolk, two delightful children, a wife who brought with her a nice income from her father's paint firm, a Waterloo medal, and a painting on show at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. Then, a few months after Thomas Gage's fiftieth birthday, Julius Gooby enters his life.
Mr Gooby is a man of the future, manager of the proposed North Norfolk Railway from Norwich to Cromer, and the route of the railway crosses Gage's land. With the railway comes tragedy, and Thomas Gage's life begins to unravel until, at the end, medal on his chest, he travels to London to watch the Duke of Wellington's funeral and to take his revenge.
With Thomas Gage James Fleming has fashioned another historical fiction of the very first rank, a portrait of a good man undone by grief, by others' greed and, ultimately, by progress.