Lieutenant James Harper, a junior officer in the Union army, aspires to command a company—but faces his dismal future at the hands of an officer who will vindictively do whatever he must to keep Harper at the bottom of the heap.
Katie Malloy, a young girl who has been sold by her father to the wily owner of a whorehouse, has settled into her new life as a saloon-girl—for the time being. She’s got big plans to get herself out of this predicament, and vows one day she’ll be more than the soldiers’ whore.
Corporal Gustav Magnusson, a young Quaker in Harper’s company, butts heads with Harper from the very beginning. But capture by the enemy forces them to work together to protect their men from sadistic Rebel Captain Bell—who wants nothing more than to see his Yankee prisoners dead.
Will General Grant’s campaign against Fort Donelson open the door for an ex-Federal Marshal, a Quaker farmer, and a soiled dove from Iowa to make their mark in the world—if they live through it?
Three lives intertwine against the backdrop of the battle which made Ulysses S. Grant’s reputation—a living hell where everything familiar fades, and the only thing that matters is surviving—however they can.