An act of revenge drives the plot of Corriher's uneven novel set in North Carolina in 1941. After Paul Taggart sets fire to Junie McAllister's home—with widower McAllister and his 10-year-old son inside—McAllister kills Taggart. Knowing that the dead man's kin will soon be seeking his blood, McAllister flees with his child, heading towards his sister's home in Wilmington. With Taggart's brother Chess in hot pursuit, weeks of rugged travel wear on McAllister and his son—but the pair chance upon a kindly doctor, who offers them work and a place to stay. That act of generosity initially angers Dr. Michael Cunningham's wife, who finds married life a disappointment and is disgusted by her husband's tendency to take in the downtrodden. The book's plot is fairly predictable and thus unengaging, while many of the characters prove stereotypical.