The young settlement is shaken by a daring bank robbery and a spate of murders. At the Governor's command, Nicodemus Dunne – a disgraced London thief-taker who is now the Running Patterer, a news-hawker roaming the streets of Sydney – sets out to discover the truth.
The evidence points – amazingly – to none other than Napoleon Bonaparte!
Could the old enemy of the British have escaped death and come to the colony, where he is preparing to seek his revenge? But who is aiding this phantom and how can he be stopped? Why are Dunne's closest friends involved? Is an exotic American singer stealing more than hearts?