The book is based on the life of William John Cavendish Bentinck-Scott, the Duke of Portland and a resident of Nottinghamshire, England. The Duke of Portland was one of Victorian England's most famous eccentrics, who built a series of underground tunnels large enough for carriages and horses, that enabled him to move around his vast property. Although some of the book is based on facts, Mick Jackson admitted to have taken downright liberties in writing it.
The novel enfolds in the form of journal entries by the duke himself, and is supplement of various neighbours, servants and service men's accounts of Your Grace. The plot develops around the Duke's observations of the world around him, his somewhat hypochondriac obsession with his body, the steadily degeneration of his mind and his search for something missing in his life. It is drawn to a shocking and somewhat bizarre climax in the end of the novel.
It is beautifully written tragic and comic novel, with a character and plot that won't easily be forgetten.