Duncan Gatewood, seventeen and heir to Gatewood Plantation, falls in love with Maggie, a mulatto slave, who conceives a son, Jacob. Maggie and Jacob are sold south, and Duncan is packed off to the Virginia Military Institute—he will eventually fight for Robert E. Lee. Another Gatewood slave, Jesse—whose love for Maggie is unrequited—escapes to find her. Jesse finds his freedom and enlists in Mr. Lincoln’s army; in time he will confront his former masters.
In his award-winning novel of the interlocked lives of masters and slaves, Donald McCaig conjures a passionate and richly textured story in the heart of America’s greatest war.