This is a novel about a murderer and a peasant girl who saves the life of one of his intended victims. Folco Corbario marries a wealthy widow, and all of society suspects he is out for her money. But years go by and all goes well between the two. Her son, the frail and sickly Marcello, is in love with Aurora. Seeing his chance, Corbario poisons his wife and attemps to beat Marcello to death during a storm. But Marcello is rescued by the peasant girl Regina, who nurses him back to health.