Civil War veteran L.D. Cade arrives in 1870s San Francisco, seeking his fortune and a place to end his restless wandering. A job as bodyguard to a flashy real estate speculator seems like just the opportunity he’s been looking for. But beneath the glitter and glamour of Gilded Age San Francisco lie festering greed, corruption, and intolerance. It’s a dangerous place for an honest man, even one who’s as good with a gun as Cade.
As he makes his way between the decadent chaos of the notorious Barbary Coast, the luxurious mansions of Russian Hill, and the secretive societies of Chinatown, Cade will face vicious and sadistic enemies, find allies in unexpected places, and encounter a pair of enigmatic women who will change his life forever.
When Union Army veteran L.D. Cade, the hero of this assured thriller from Rhoads (the Jack Keller novels), arrives in bustling San Francisco after the Civil War, his only assets are a Colt Navy revolver and the experience that's taught him when to use it and when to hold fire. That's enough to get him hired by shady businessman John Hamrick as a bodyguard, his principal duty being to protect everyone in the Hamrick household from Chinese tong assassins. What he doesn't know is that the plot against Hamrick's family is led by a white man pretending to be the leader of the Green Dragon Tong. When Mr. Kwan, the real head of the tong, finds out about this, he inserts his formidable female assassin into the mix. Even after Cade is fired by Hamrick and arrested by the crooked police, his toughness, native decency, and attraction to Hamrick's wife impel him to stick with the task to the bloody end. Rhoades does a good job illuminating the racial and ethnic tensions of the period. With any luck, this is the start of a series.