It is the year 1875 and the world's great powers are playing “the game of nations”: expanding their colonial empires by means both fair and foul. Weblike networks of spies, soldiers, and operatives span the world, doing the bidding of their respective crowns.
A few clandestine groups, however, serve no crown nor any authority higher than themselves. Such an organization is the Clockwork Legion, a shadowy viper's nest of anarchists and evildoers dedicated to toppling governments and sowing discord across the globe.
But there can be no shadow without light; while some secret cabals are dedicated to spreading terror, others work to uphold the common good. The Explorer Society is one of the latter, a confederation of scientists and adventurers pledged to stamp out evil and preserve the rule of law.
On the Continent, the Clockwork Legion, led by the sinister Baron von Sturm, has enlisted the aid of the brilliant, half-mad British scientist Dr. Phineas Cloughton (a.k.a. “Dr. Clockwork”) to create not only an army of clockwork automatons, but also a doomsday weapon of terrifying power: the Kinetic Nullifier, capable of stopping all physical motion down to the atomic level. If mounted on a seagoing vessel, the cannon-like Nullifier would be able to neutralize an entire opposing navy by turning their ship's metal hulls to ice, which would then shatter as a result of their own weight. Von Sturm and the beautiful Eva Richter plan to turn the weapon against the most powerful navy on earth - that of Her Royal Highness, Queen Victoria of England.
In London, Sir James Wyngate, head of the Explorer Society, learns of the Clockwork Legion's insidious plan. Wyngate enlists the aid of Britain's Captain Etheridge, American operative Zebulon Manning, and others in a mission to thwart von Sturm's plans and preserve the British Empire.
This is the story of their struggle, with the ultimate fates of Great Britain and the United States of America hanging in the balance...