This is a fast-paced story of intrigue, adventure, romance, and tragedy in the lives of three families as the curtain of sorrow and treachery fall on a country soon to be divided against itself. A wealthy Georgia planter, Henry Hamilton, foresees the collapse of the southern way of life and takes steps to make changes that will preserve his plantation at the cost of relationships and family bonds. His lovely wife, Margaret, is ignorant of the differing politics across the nation and is willing to do absolutely anything to preserve her comfortable way of life, striking out at those who get in her way. James and Sarah Peterson are simple farmers in the border state of Maryland who find themselves caught in the middle between the traditions and culture of the south and the emerging changes imposed by industrialization in the north. It becomes values, faith, tradition, and culture that soon splits family from family and friend from friend. Jacob and Ruth along with their three children have run away from their masters on an Alabama plantation, escaping the tyranny and treachery of slavery and southern attitudes. They run for their lives but, With every mile they are nearer to freedom, the closer they come to the truth that they are also not welcomed in the north where race also remains an undeniable issue for so many of its population.
While Americans across the land seek to keep alive the traditions and society in which they have lived their lives, there are others like Jack Benton who intend to take advantage of uncertainty and vulnerabilities of all those who desperately grab for what is their own sense of security. His organization crisscrosses the eastern coast, putting northern guns in confederate hands, trafficking in slave trade, and active in destroying the lives of those who are weak, innocent, lost, and who have no rights or direction. Agent Richard Bower struggles to pierce the wall of corruption, immorality, and wickedness around Benton and his directors while representing a federal government who many observe as an institution dissolving at its foundation. As this saga of American history unfolds at the brink of the Civil War, the world looks on as the question of the existence of democracy, the very idea of government by the people is tested, once and for all, as a viable form of government