In 1864 Asa Draper struggles as a private detective in San Francisco. He is a self-taught investigator, clients are few, his wife is expecting, and the roof leaks. Finding a missing necklace could turn things around. He finds allies in a Freedwoman, an orphan, and a Chinese cook, yet death follows and his family and his reputation are threatened with destruction. Are friends enemies or really friends?
An underground cell of Abolitionists works to foil agents who kidnap people under the new Fugitive Slave Law. The President of the United States sends a marshal to destroy the group by kidnapping the leader south as a slave. A cook, a preacher, a traveling salesman, a courtesan, a burglar, and a lawyer conspire to strike a blow for freedom in the largest mass escape of slaves in history—without ever being discovered.
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Greedy men struggle for power and wealth using the lives of their slaves as weapons and revenge. Phyllis, a young slave, tells the story of her life, her family, her community, their destruction, her survival, and her resurrection as an Abolitionist leader. She learns that good things can be bad and bad things can be good. Based on real events.
"...intellectually stimulating account with the perfect amount of tension and excitement. Contributing to the book's high-quality writing is fascinating description of the techniques and demands of day-to-day life in the times and places of the story it tells."
"Down the River will be an excellent read for anyone with an interest in its era in American history."
"The journey of Phyllis’s life could be an inspiration to some reader that crisis may rise in life but you can’t give up, you definitely can’t stop fighting and ultimately that forgiving may sometimes bring about freedom."
San Francisco is Union...
...but Rebel sentiment seethes beneath the surface. An ox drover is pulled into a woman’s murder and he learns the skills of a detective. No one and nothing is as it seems as he explores the seedier side of California with the help of two smart women. One case leads to Confederate agents. Will they pull off plans to win the war for the South?
Phyllis uses her job as an army cook in the lands of the Chickasaw to search for her children who fled slavery. Captain Alexander McTeague keeps the peace by evicting squatters, destroying whiskey, and killing outlaws with the Chickasaw scout Kills Early. Land-hungry slave holders from the states want McTeague to fail so they can add to their empire. If McTeague fails, Phyllis fails. Whiskey is the enemy too, impoverishing the tribe and destroying his friend. When all the enemies gather, Phyllis and McTeague must choose between duty and defeat, survival and death.