In an England on the brink of bankruptcy and war, only the wily may prosper. Becky Sharp is a governess, temptress and social climber supreme, a woman who more than compensates in brains and beauty for what she conspicuously lacks in breeding. To what lengths will she go in order to secure herself a rich and high-born husband? And how many male hearts will be left broken along the way? We follow Becky's journey from the elegant salons of Georgian London to the battlefields of Waterloo, from her ill-fated attempts to woo the buffoonish Jos Sedley, to her equally doomed marriage to the aristocratic cad Rawdon Crawley. The unsinkable Becky's progress is mirrored by that of her fragile best friend Amelia, who is besotted with the raffish George Osborne, but secretly admired by Osborne's staunch ally William Dobbin. Can both women survive the foibles of love and the catastrophic events unfolding in England and abroad?