April 1861, New York City. Civil War has just broken out. Kate Warne, first female detective and a Pinkerton, returns to find that her beloved sister, Saskia, has gone missing. Where to turn? Who to suspect?
Danger surrounds Kate. Secessionists’ fury has followed her since she thwarted their recent attempt to assassinate Lincoln in Baltimore. New York City is also a powder keg, with most elites and even the city’s mayor violently pro-South. Or could Kate’s possibly pro-South relatives have anything to do with Saskie’s disappearance?
Buck Hackett, a handsome fellow Pinkerton, teams up to help but also yearns for Kate. She resists loving him, fearing more heartache after the loss of her husband. Instead, she and her frequent partner Hattie Lawton – whose family Pinkerton helped escape to Canada via the Underground Railroad – plunge headlong into the dangers of 1861 NYC: from the theater scene to scenes of squalor and vast wealth – then through the raging opium epidemic and the secret tunnels of Chinatown. To find her sister Kate braves every danger, knowing that every second counts.