C. Jamieson Spencer is sipping cognac when Paris starts to burn. As Communists and Fascists battle in the streets below his hotel balcony, this world-weary foreign correspondent does not bother taking notes. He's too busy falling in love with an enchantingly beautiful stranger. The reporter is just working up the courage to ask the woman her name when a stray bullet pierces her skull. In Paris, love comes quickly, and life ends fast.
Vicky Clay awakens with chills. She's still glowing from her victory in last night's steeplechase - the genteel form of horseracing for which the Virginia gentry lives and dies - but that's not why her skin tingles. She has been poisoned, and within seconds she's as useless to the world as a thoroughbred with a broken leg. The stakes are high in the world of Virginia horseracing, where fortunes are won and lost by a hair.
The gunman crouches in his crawl space, dreaming of revenge. The United States has turned his homeland into a combat zone, killing his family and ruining his life. Today, vengeance will be had.... President Henry Hampton is visiting Gettysburg, and the band has just struck up "Hail to the Chief" when the first shots ring out. Blood stains the old battleground once more.
"tedious, sparse action, not so great ending"
It's been years since Harrison Raines set foot in Richmond. Although a proud Virginian, he fled the South before the Civil War, unable to bear the evil of slavery. In 1862, battles rage on all sides of the Confederate capital, but Raines is not here as a soldier - he comes as a spy. Union intelligence, led by the formidable Allen Pinkerton, has sent him to steal the plans for a rumored Confederate superweapon: a seagoing ship clad entirely in iron that could break the Union blockade and turn the war around.
A Southern gambler hunts a killer in the thick of the first great battle of the Civil War. It's July 1861, and both the Union and Confederate armies expect to win the war within 24 hours. For Harrison Raines, a Southern dandy ensconced in DC society, it's time to choose a side. Though Raines loves Virginia, he hates slavery with a passion. And joining either army would mean leaving Washington and deserting the beautiful Caitlin Howard.
Halfway between the United States and the Soviet Union, Iceland is one of the most strategic points in the Cold War and home to a NATO squadron that could wipe Moscow off the map in an instant. It's about to become the unwitting host for the most daring operation in military history. On the remote coast of this frostbound island, the Soviets are building a laser powerful enough to bring the United States to its knees.
Harrison Raines struggles to keep the Civil War from overtaking the West. It's 1862, and the Civil War hangs in the balance. Although the Union has beaten back the Southern armies in the East, the Confederacy is intent on opening new fronts to the west - and perhaps securing British support to widen this ugly conflict into a world war.
The plan is simple. The moment the Homeland Security adviser reaches the middle of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, a team of suicide bombers will rush his car, killing him and destroying the bridge. But as the plot's mastermind watches from afar, he sees only two small explosions. The bridge has survived; the plan has failed. He will have to find another way to bring terror to the United States - and he's about to get a fearsome opportunity.
A Jazz Age rake investigates an utterly divine art-world mystery. Everyone who's anyone knows Bedford Green. Once a merciless gossip columnist, he has given up the life of sleaze and secrets and decamped for the Village to open a gritty little art gallery showcasing the most shocking European artists imaginable. The gallery is a money pit, and Green is in debt to some of the roughest loan sharks south of 14th Street, but that doesn't stop him from looking fabulous or having a good time.
Harrison Raines is caught in no-man's-land - and suspected of murder. The messenger finds Harrison Raines in one of the finest gambling halls in Washington. As usual, Raines is losing. Union intelligence demands his presence immediately - it's a matter that could affect the outcome of the Civil War - but Raines delays. He's holding four eights, and as a Southern dandy who renounced his family to serve the Union government as a secret agent, Raines can't resist a bet.
Bedford Green finds that Newport's rich and powerful work hard, play hard, and die easy. Gossip columnist, gallery owner, amateur sleuth - Bedford Green has been a lot of things, but he's never been respectable. So on a blistering hot afternoon in 1925, the impeccably dressed man-about-town is shocked to receive an invitation from the Vanderbilts requesting he spend a few days in their cottage at Newport.
A Civil War spy is pulled out of retirement to find a killer. It's 1862, and for Harrison Raines, the Civil War is finished. Since the First Battle of Bull Run, he has served the Union Army as a spy, crisscrossing the war-torn country and witnessing more death, misery, and carnage than any man should. Although a Virginian, he loathes slavery and is proud to have served Abraham Lincoln. But Raines has had enough killing and wishes only to retire to a tranquil patch of land.
Harrison Raines hunts for a savage double murderer on the killing fields of Shiloh. General Grant's army is camped along the Tennessee River, ready to deal a crushing blow to the South. If they are able to capture Corinth, the Confederacy's railways will disintegrate, bringing its army to its knees. But first, Grant must pass through the crucible of Shiloh - the most fearsome fight of the Civil War.
A former fashion photographer encounters murder and corruption in New Orleans. It's too hot to sleep. It's too hot to be up. This is New Orleans in the summer. And as dawn breaks on a sweltering July morning, André Derain awakens to a scream from his courtyard as a man is stabbed just below his window. Acting on impulse, Derain leaps out the window in the buff and chases the attacker down the alleyway, but the man with the knife gets away. By the time Derain returns to the courtyard, the victim has died.
The ship is dead in the water. Its lines are tangled and its sails are slack as it drifts toward the rocky coast. A fisherman spies the vessel and steps aboard, expecting it to be deserted. But there is one passenger: a lovely young woman with a rolled-up painting in her hand and two bullets in her chest. Across Lake Michigan, Matthias Curland returns to Chicago for the first time since he gave up architecture to devote himself to fine art.
It's a beautiful day in Greenwich Village, and for once Bedford Green is selling paintings. Business is booming, and this gossip columnist turned art dealer owes it all to his invaluable assistant, Sloane - who goes and spoils the fun by announcing that she's leaving on safari. Sloane is a Midwestern girl and has never laid eyes on any animal more exotic than a house cat, but she can't resist her uncle Dixon's invitation to visit Kenya to hobnob with everyone from the department-store king of Chicago to the prince of Wales.
A diplomat hounded by the KGB and the CIA fights to prevent a Canadian civil war. Pulling over on the California highway, two men argue with each other in French. They open their car's trunk and haul out two victims: a drunk man and a screaming woman. With two shotgun blasts, the couple is dead, and the killers drive back to Canada - the country their actions have just pushed to the brink of chaos.
A daytime fashion show at the Plaza Hotel attracts the most beautiful, cynical, and useless people that New York society has to offer. Swimming among them is A. C. James, who has been making enemies on the Upper East Side ever since trading in his life as a war correspondent to become the most vicious society columnist in the city. A notorious flirt, James spends the fashion show eying Camilla Santee, a stunning blonde. He is walking with her down the Plaza steps when a motorcyclist stops, draws a gun, and fires.
When the Russian Revolution came to Saint Petersburg, Princess Irina went into hiding. A stunningly beautiful ballerina, she knew she had to escape the Bolsheviks - or else die. With her jewels sewn into her cloak, Irina made a mad dash for the border. But the Cheka caught up with her, stole her jewelry, and left her naked, bloody, and dead along the riverbank. Her murder was never avenged. Such is Tatiana "Tatty" Chase's heritage.
A back-alley murder carries André Derain from the streets of New Orleans to the sun-drenched hell of the Cayman Islands. It's quiet in the Garden District, and André Derain can't sleep. After a lifetime as a fashion photographer in New York and the French Quarter, he needs noise, excitement, action - and he's about to get more than he can handle. A call comes in from the New Orleans homicide department, tipping Derain off to a grisly shooting on Tchoupitoulas Street. He grabs his camera and charges out the door.