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When Jeremiah Hawthorne, master of the Manor, is murdered late one night on his way home, it sets into motion a complex and absorbing saga. Grief, loss, and betrayal are experienced'in different ways'by both Jerry Hawthorne, the Massa's young son, and Daniel, the slave playmate given to Jerry when both were toddlers.

The Manor is sold off, the slaves and their families ripped apart as well. As Daniel and the other slaves are taken to auction, Jerry is determined to rescue them, running away to New York to find his uncles. But instead, when he lands in New York, he is taken in by a nine-year-old street urchin named Nicky, who recruits him into the underbelly of New York's Tenderloin.

When fate reunites both, Daniel is, at first, tentative. His memories of their separation are uncertain until Jerry reassures him. After talking for days, making up for the nearly ten years since they had last seen each other, their bond remains intact. But now Jerry realizes that the love he always felt for Daniel is more than brotherly love. What happens next both shocks and puzzles the unsuspecting Daniel. Nothing from that point on will ever be the same.