Just after the end of the Civil War, the Mississippi river boat Delilah, a large paddlewheel steamer carrying many war veterans back to their homes along the river, explodes and burns, killing hundreds of the passengers. U.S. Army Major Keith Harding, himself a survivor of the Delilah's sinking, is sent by the Army to the nearby river town of Britton's Landing to investigate the tragedy and determine who looted a large shipment of gold bullion from the wreck after the explosion and fire. There are at first two main suspects, Confederate veterans who were aboard the steamboat when the tragedy occurred. Both men were residents of Britton's Landing, and Harding finds himself opposed by the hostile residents of the town as he struggles to locate and question the missing men. His search leads him to the sister of one of the men, the beautiful Laura Canfield, whom he had met briefly while he was recovering from the injuries he sustained when the Delilah blew up. Amid sinister threats and escalating violence, Harding gradually unravels the puzzle as he and Laura embark upon a long and dangerous pursuit of the renegades who masterminded the sinking and theft, a quest that will take them far from Britton's Landing and end in death for many of those caught up in the aftermath of the brutal crime.
Used availability for Charles E Friend's Yesterday's Enemies
July 2014 : USA Paperback