In 1854, at the height of Crimean War, Victor Hugo, the legendary French romantic, comes to London in search of inspiration for his next novel. He meets Jocelyn Stuart, a delusional young benefactress, who promises to show him “the real England.”

Hugo disguises himself as a sailor and enters Bermondsey, where he immerses himself in a world of boxing matches, circus performances and gang wars. Roaming London’s most notorious slum, he encounters Dr. Grant, a Cambridge-educated opium dealer; Wynfield, a charismatic bandit; and Diana, a sickly servant girl who bears a disturbing resemblance to Hugo’s dead daughter. Their surreal adventures become the basis for Hugo’s subsequent novels.

When danger befalls Hugo’s new friends, he vows to protect them, even if it means turning against his old friends and risking his own safety. How far will a grieving father go for the memory of his child?

Infused with dark humor and melancholic folk ballads, Hugo in London is a tribute to one of France’s most prolific literary icons.