In this fascinating adventure of the England of the 1750s, the huge Frenchman Black Jack (Jean Franval) miraculously survives a hanging by the British authorities in Yorkshire and escapes from the grim jaws of "justice." He takes to the countryside in the company of Tolly, a teenaged boy who is able to translate Black Jack's odd speech into something comprehensible. They join up with Belle, an aristocratic teenager who has escaped from the madhouse her family imprisoned her in when she grew troublesome. Together, the three join a carnival. However, as it becomes clear that the girl is far from crazy, love between Tolly and Belle grows. This story, set in the mid-18th century, is based on a novel by Leon Garfield.