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    After a narrow Confederate victory at Antietam in 1862, the American Civil War became stalemated, until European recognition?and military action?on behalf of the South finally forced the Union to accept an armistice ?on the basis of separation? in April 1865. Among the treaty?s terms: A plebiscite to decide the fate of Kansas and Missouri, two bitterly contested states swarming with Unionist and Confederate guerrillas, for whom the war is far from over.

    Back on the family farm in Kansas after four years of war, discharged Union cavalryman James Burns cares little for the ideals he once fought for, seeking only to protect his mother and sisters from whatever the plebiscite will bring. But the violence and shifting allegiances he thought he?d escaped will force him to take up arms once more. And his actions could see his family and state made safe for good?or thrown back into the bloody maelstrom of civil war?

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