The name of the book Jeremy Poldark doesn’t mean the book is about him. He just gets born at the end of the book.
Book 3 in this Poldark series starts with Ross’s darkest moment when he faces trial by hanging for inciting smuggling by several Cornish villages of the Warleggan ships at the end of book 2 (Demelza Poldark). Against the odds he survives the trial due to a sympathetic Cornish jury who understand that their residents were starving all winter and desperate for money and food from the shipwrecks.
Meanwhile Caroline Penvenan makes an entrance and an impression on young Dr Dwight Enys. He cures an ailment of hers and she repays him by buying cartloads of oranges for the cure of the scurvy outbreak in villages. It’s an impossible romance due to class difference and both know it. But will love find a way?
The feud between Francis and Ross because of Francis’ betrayal of Ross and the Carnmore Copper Company to George Warleggan carries on. Both Poldark cousins are in dire debts and not speaking to each other and George feels superior and poised to destroy the Poldark name.
Demelza’s and Verity’s persuasion finally gets the two Poldarks to talk to each other. But not before Francis’s depression over the situation leads him to make a suicide attempt.
Ross has his revenge on George unexpectedly when George tries to provoke him at a chance meeting and ends up in a punch-up. Ross being a soldier wins, leaving George physically beaten up.
Verity reconciles with her brother Francis over her elopement and has her own trial in meeting her new stepchildren.
Demelza and Ross’s marriage is under strain with both stonewalling after the death of their daughter Julia. Ross’s eyes turn back on to his first love, Elizabeth, who it turns out he had never gotten over.
Francis and Elizabeth’s marriage also appears to have fizzled out with both leading separate lives. Elizabeth tries her best to attract Ross back from Demelza and Demelza is aware of it. There’s nothing like a wife’s intuition to spot trouble and of course there’s a baby on the way and Ross has said he doesn’t want any more children since he’s still grieving for their dead daughter. Demelza can’t tell him about the pregnancy till it’s obviously showing.
Into this whirlpool of spiralling debts and secrets, Demelza and Ross pawn their belongings for cash to keep the bailiffs at bay. Just when Ross realises he escaped the hangman’s noose at the smuggling trial only to end up in Debtor’s prison, an offer is made by a former Carnmore Copper Company member for the use of Ross’s cove to land black market goods for a handsome sum of money. Does Ross take up the only chance of getting money and some independence from George?