In this historical novel, a skilled Charleston surgeon in the Army of Northern Virginia questions everything he knows as truth when faced with the horrors of the Civil War.
The Civil War inevitably approaches. Two young Charlestonians, the Irish Catholic Mary Assumpta Bailey, and the English Protestant James Merriweather are soon to be intertwined through marriage, medicine, and their aversion to slavery.
Mary Assumpta Bailey, her brother, Dr. John Bailey, and his medical apprentice, Dr. James Merriweather, openly serve anyone who walks through the doors of their Charleston medical practice – white, free blacks, seamen, or slaves. Equally, and despite its flaws, they also share an abiding love for the South.
Dr. James Merriweather feels an enduring duty to the young men dying in battle and to his young family weathering the War on their small farm on Horlbeck Creek, South Carolina. Merriweather joins the War confident in the knowledge he can use his surgical skills to save the injured and send them back to their families. Rather quickly, Merriweather realizes how unprepared he is for the horrors of battle. Thus he begins a slow journey into his own war with darkness–his sanity precariously in the balance.