Set against the struggle of the working classes and the suffragettes for equality from the England of the mid-19th century to the 1930s. John  Hamer Shawcross is born into a poor but aspirational working-class family in Manchester. Studious and hard-working,  he becomes a socialist activist, goes into politics and rises to becomes part of the privileged upper classes he began by opposing. As he looks back, he wonders if his successes brought him over to the side of the establishment?  Is he still the same as that boy who thrilled to stories of heroes and grand achievements, who so proudly inherited a Peterloo sabre from “the Old Warrior,” his family’s lodger?