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A novel set in Civil War-era Louisiana, as the South transforms and a brilliant cast of characters—enslaved and free women, plantation gentry, and battle-weary Confederate and Union soldiers—are caught in the maelstrom.
In the fall of 1863, the Union Army is in control of the Mississippi River and much of Louisiana, including New Orleans and Baton Rouge. The retreating Confederate army is being replaced by Red Legs, irregulars commanded by a maniacal figure, and enslaved men and women are beginning to glimpse freedom.
When Hannah Laveau, an enslaved woman working on the Lufkin plantation, is accused of murder, she goes on the run with Florence Milton, an abolitionist schoolteacher, dodging the local constable and the slavecatchers that prowl the bayous.
Wade Lufkin, haunted by what he observed—and did—as a surgeon on the battlefield, has returned to his uncle's plantation to convalesce, where he becomes enraptured by Hannah.