Truman Haden is just ten years old the night his childhood disappears forever. After he is sent to live with his grandfather to escape the ravages of yellow fever that has overtaken his home, Truman learns all his family members have died and receives a letter penned by his father in his final days. The letter holds an important message for Truman: to protect his heritage and honor laws for the good of the southern people. Although Truman is too young to completely understand the words, he knows the message must not be forgotten.
In the midst the Civil War and the events that precede it, Truman grows to adulthood and becomes a lawyer who must learn to honor the promise to his father without surrendering his principles. As Truman quietly makes his presence known in Elmira, New York, he is changed forever by those he encounters: an abolitionist woman whose humanity is tested by her commitment to end slavery; an evangelist who teaches him how to forgive; a young, abandoned slave who values freedom; an older former slave who teaches him dignity; and the many young POWs who live and die for their noble cause.
Based on actual events, this sweeping historical epic tells the tale of the remarkable town of Elmira, New York, one of the most compelling and timeless stories of our country’s crucible years.