Winner of the Colorado Book Award for Historical Fiction!
Before there were red states and blue states, there was Kansas. A place that divided the nation like never before, or since. A place where mayors were generals and journalists were terrorists. A place where drunken guerrilla armies roamed the prairies, threatening farmers and rigging elections
Follow two young families as they struggle with rattlesnakes, tornadoes, ice-storms, childbirth and morality in a war-torn land. A growing love between them, built over holiday ham and whiskey, is threatened as they are drawn into the territory’s cycle of political violence. They must ultimately decide if they are friends or foes, and it isn’t long before they all have blood on their hands.
This is a story of loyalty and betrayal, courage and despair. Set in the 1850s, the dilemmas faced by the Dugan and Hawkins families are similar to those faced by every generation in a long-divided America. It asks how ordinary people cope with extraordinary times, why they sometimes turn to violence, and more importantly, why they usually do not.