There's nothing like a good murder threat to make you feel young again. And with his twenty-fifth college reunion upon him, Marsh desperately needs that feeling. So when his old college buddy Seth Hartman reveals that he has been marked for death by a racist hate group calling itself the Alliance for Southern Pride, Marsh puts aside his Yankee misgivings and heads down to Charleston, South Carolina, to investigate. With its lovely old streets and even lovelier young women, the elegant Charleston of the New South takes Tanner pleasantly by surprise. But behind the pillared porches and winning smiles he finds a seething mass of Old Southern hatreds. As the city's outspoken civil rights lawyer for two decades, going back to his days as an idealistic young SNCC volunteer, Seth has riled up the outwardly genteel Charleston elite time and again, and none of them seems too upset by his potential demise. And his latest crusade, to protect the right of a young black woman to attend the area's famous Palisade military academy, may have pushed them just too far. Forging through the maze of subterfuge that surrounds the Alliance, Tanner stumbles across a sinister thread that links Seth's own troubled family life, the byzantine local politics, and a terrible secret from the glory days of the civil rights movement. Finally, by the light of a burning cross, Marsh learns that old prejudices die hard and that generation-old grudges can overwhelm principles, friendships, and even love.
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