California, 1862. Dol, an irrepressible young 'flash-girl', hitches a wagon with a gaggle of friends, headed east for new adventures. But on the road an act of kindness - saving a man from suicide - invites her own destruction. The man is a murderous pimp, who resents being rescued, and decides to take revenge. Dol has problems aplenty: permanently gonged on Lancashire Black Drop, and in sporadic pursuit of her wayward mother, she assumes the pimp is the least of her troubles. But then he turns up at the saloon bar where she works, lugging a tea-chest full of missy (opium) and not-so-politely insisting she hide it for him.The chest has several owners - each more brutal than the last - and Dol is soon on the run in the American wilderness. There she is drawn into a contest that threatens everything she holds most dear - including her own quick mind. Chris Hannan's fast-paced debut novel is a historical romp of startling originality. Dol McQueen is a triumphant creation: an opium-addicted Becky Sharp, flawed but utterly irresistible, who tells her eye-popping story in a unique and unforgettable idiom.