At the height of the Civil War, word spreads through the poorest
quarters of New York City that a military draft is about to be implemented—a
draft from which any rich man’s son can buy an exemption. The outrage this
inspires escalates into the worst urban conflagration in American history.
Down in the
waterfront slum of Paradise Alley, three women—Deirdre Dolan O’Kane, Ruth Dove,
and Maddy Boyle—struggle with their private fears as they wait for the storm to
descend upon them. Deirdre, devastated by the news that her husband, Tom, has
been wounded in Gettysburg, must turn for comfort and aid to two women she has
always judged as morally depraved: Ruth, married to an ex-slave, and Maddy, a
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