A New York businessman forms close ties of friendship with several families in Jones and Craven counties. They assist each other in solving personal and financial problems even though they have different points of view on slavery and other issues. Slavery receives a lot of attention; corrupt masters, violent overseers, and miscegenation figure in the plot. The tragedies in the book are based on episodes that the author knew of from his experiences as a director of a cotton trading and shipping company prior to the Civil War.
Edmund Kirke is a pseudonym of James R. Gilmore.
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