The Civil War has just begun. The Southern states are seceding, and Maryland is torn between North and South. In Baltimore, a wealthy and influential shipping magnate named Elias Liberty is financing and assembling a military force to invade Washington, D.C. and depose the "tyrannical" Lincoln administration. A congressman who stands in Liberty's way is murdered, prompting a government investigation.
The investigator is John Benedict Carver, a private detective and veteran of the Mexican War. He is recruited by an old friend to work for a secret organization within the War Department to infiltrate Confederate espionage. Carver is despondent following the recent deaths of his wife and daughter, and he accepts the assignment as a way to escape from his grief.
The trail takes Carver to Baltimore, where he meets a boardinghouse widow named Lucille Winters. As widows they share their pain and grow affectionate. Meanwhile, Carver learns that there is more to the Liberty investigation than just a simple murder. What begins as a routine investigation becomes a race against time as Carver must uncover the sinister plot and expose Liberty before he launches his troops on the defenseless U.S. capital.
The review of this Book prepared by Walter Coffey