Carter Ransom has left his past behind. Born and raised in Mississippi, he has come to New York and established himself as a columnist and muckraker with one of the city's big newspapers. But when his New York life falls apart, and he heads back home to recover, all the conflicts and compromises of his youth instantly surround him again. A twenty-five-year-old civil rights murder case has just been reopened, a church bombing that cost Carter his first love. The judge in the case was his own father, who's still dominating the household Carter has come back to. Moving between New York City and the New South of the early 1990s, with flashbacks to Mississippi's cataclysmic Freedom Summer of 1964.