Set in the Italy and England of the seventeenth century, this is a story of passionate love , implacable hatred, treachery and vengeance. Kindly Genoese merchant Balsamo becomes the vengeful “cripple in black” when a girl under his protection is abducted by an arrogant English aristocrat. Placing implicit trust in a friend and a girl he loves, he finds his trust betrayed. This sudden discovery turns the cripple from a kindly, forgiving man into one of iron determination to exact retribution and revenge….