In the spring of 1863, Illinoisan Abe Lincoln was in the second year of his presidency of a country half its territorial size when he took the oath of office. During the same spring, sixteen-year-old South Carolinian Isaac Rice fulfills his Great-grandfather’s dream and escapes from the more than a century-old slave labor camp known as Tiffany Plantation. Thanks to the forced free labor of generations of Isaac’s ancestors, the Tiffanys were the largest and richest rice producer in South Carolina’s Colleton District.
Months later, Isaac’s ambitions to return and save Bianca, his widowed lover, were thwarted. It was then that he began an epic journey shoveling coal aboard a United States Navy warship. Ship-wrecked by a hurricane on the Gulf of Mexico, he lands in Mississippi where he finds Rachel, the love of his life. Soon, Isaac fulfills his desire to be a soldier when joins the new United States Tenth Cavalry, created in the first year after the Uncivil War.
A memorable set of characters revolves around Isaac–a Confederate guerilla, a black female activist in a Mississippi Constitutional Convention, a Mescalero Apache warrior, a white Union cavalry sergeant, and a Mexican nurse. Together, with family and friends, they show us what it’s like to survive, hate and love in their time. All raise their voices and bare their souls as the world they seek constantly changes, bringing tragedy and triumph to their lives and Isaac’s.