The dashing Duke of Selchester is on his way to visit Lord Upminster at Copple Hall when he is halted by a collision in the road ahead to find that a stagecoach has crashed into his own travelling carriage, the wheel of which is badly buckled. Worse still, his beloved pedigree stallion, Salamanca, needs re-shoeing. Arriving on foot at the nearest village, he finds a strikingly attractive young girl called Verena Winchcombe, who agrees to take him to the local blacksmith. It transpires that she has been awaiting the arrival of someone she calls 'the Odious Duke', who is due at Copple Hall, but who has so far failed to arrive. With horror the Duke realises that she is talking of none other than himself. So he introduces himself by his rank as 'Major Theron Royd'. When Verena confides in him about strange goings on at an old, perhaps haunted, Priory where he agrees to go along with her to investigate. And there he is bludgeoned unconscious by a mysterious assailant. Awaking at Verena's home, he realises that there is much more to this feisty but beautiful young woman than meets the eye as she helps nurse him back to health after serious wounds to his head And in turn, as they find themselves in a perilous adventure involving murderous Bullion thieves, Verena, still unaware of the Duke's true identity, has fallen in love with him.