Mattie Maguire is a twenty-six-year-old widow with an infant son. Since her husband, Brian, died three years before, she has struggled to keep the family's East End coal business solvent, as well as taking care of her troubled mother-in-law. But unbeknown to Mattie, life is about to get even tougher. Maguire's is in the path of the proposed Wapping to Mile End Railway extension that Amos Stebbins is trying to raise capital for, and he has his sights set on the deeds of the coal yard. Outwardly, Amos is a respectably married local benefactor. But he has a darker side and will stop at nothing to get what he wants.