The Wakefield family spend their first holiday abroad in Brussels, which proves to be a bad choice in the summer of 1815. As battle erupts unexpectedly the Wakefields are unable to flee and are caught up in a series of mysteries in addition to the perils of a country at war. A jewel theft, an abduction, the discovery of a dead body in the park and the disappearance and possible murder of a young officer all follow in quick succession. The story is told by Elizabeth Aston, the Wakefields' niece. Although occupied with care of the wounded she starts an investigation with the help of a Bow Street Runner. She finds love and danger on the way.