Master Georgie - George Hardy, a surgeon and amateur photographer - stands at the center of this intense, searing, unsettling novel that takes him from a comfortable life in prosperous nineteenth century Liverpool to the battlefield at Inkerman and the horrors of the Crimean War. His story begins and ends in front of a camera, but Master Georgie is more than the subject of a photograph. Three voices record the series of strange events, bad judgments, good intentions, and ill luck that shape the destiny of Master Georgie. There is Myrtle, a foundling rescued by an accident of fate that secures her an ambiguous position in the Hardy household. There is Pompey Jones, a resourceful street boy, then a fire-eater, and finally a photographer's assistant. There is the pompous, melancholy Dr. Potter who studies the classics and the new science of Darwin no less than he ponders the singular misadventure in a Liverpool brothel that has so ominously linked his own fortune with that of a servant girl, a scamp, and his brother-inlaw, Master Georgie.