Tom Smiley signed up as a private in the Confederate army when he was eighteen and quickly came to regret it. Spending the last year of the war in a Union prison scarred him so deeply that even death hasn't brought freedom from its memory. A ghost in his deserted childhood home, he can't forget the bloody war and its meaningless losses, or shed his revulsion for his role in the Confederate defense of slavery. But when a young couple moves in and makes his home their own in the early 21st century, trouble erupts--and Tom is forced to not only face his own terrible secret but also come to grips with his family's hidden wartime history. He finds an unexpected ally in his house's new owner, Phoebe Hunter, who is both fascinated and frightened by his ghostly presence--and whose discoveries will have momentous consequences for them both.