In the South before the Civil War, one man’s radical ideas and breakthrough invention threaten the townspeople’s privileged way of life, based on slavery and power.
Tom Edmunton, the science-minded son of a cotton planter, has designed the precursor of the tractor in antebellum Louisiana. He foresees a new age of mechanized farming that will empty the fields of men and replace the South’s slavery system. But the planters of his town don’t like his big ideas about changing their world or the intensity with which he’s pursuing them. As Tom hears the call of the new age, he also feels the pull of two women. Rachel, a senator’s daughter, loves him, but will she break with her family to stand by his side if the town rebukes him? Solo, a rebellious mulatto slave, despises Tom, along with every other master. Rachel is free, but is her spirit chained? Solo is chained, but is her spirit free? Tensions between Tom and the planters peak, and the tractor is stolen. “Then a shocking murder sets into motion inextricably linked events and revelations that will change life as they know it for Tom, Rachel, and Solo” (Booklist).
Murder, forbidden love, and the bitter clash of two ages unfold in this gripping mystery set during the tumultuous lead-up to the Civil War. A Dream of Daring is a haunting tale of the Old South, with its lush fields of white-gold cotton, its majestic plantations, its elegant gentry, and its embattled slaves. The novel delves deeply into the conflicts of the period that still plague the world today—the clash between progress and control, between freedom and servitude, between the limitless reach of the human spirit and the forces that work to suppress it— giving the story a relevance and immediacy in our own time.