«Richard Mutimer is delighted to inherit a large fortune. As a socialist, he means to use it well: he will open a factory in which workers would be treated well, he will advance his party's causes through his own wealth… At least, so he thinks. But reality may be far different. This novel raises more questions than answers. How much should money play in the marriage market, or can love have a prominent place? Can a man who gained power remain a socialist? This book is not only about political unrest. It is a story of a man who changes, for better or worse, and all the forces that shape him. Like other works by Gissing, it describes the London slums in the 19th century, the conditions of the working class, and a few families (some dysfunctional and some great). It was a favourite of George Orwell's, who developed some of Gissing's earlier themes in his own works. It is also reminiscent of works by authors such as Anthony Trollope. It is the only novel by Gissing which was adapted into film.» — Summary by Stav Nisser
There are two chapters in this book with the same number: XXVI, apparently a numbering error in the printed edition. The audiobook follows the same numbering.