It is 1795 in Williamsburg, Virginia, as the son of an alcoholic father and bastard mother grows up in poverty. Still, little Andrew Blackstone is resolute to make something of his life—and does years later when he acquires a fortune through illegal slave trade.
Determined to achieve economic and social dominance, Andrew eventually marries into the Wellworth family, rich in ancestry but poor in purse. His wife, Rebecca, who was raised by a slave until her father sold her, wants to buy back Momma Jo. When she learns she has died leaving two sons, Michael and Gabriel, Rebecca buys and then frees the boys, prompting Michael to meet John Brown and participate in the Pottawatomie massacre. As the Blackstone family is impacted by other antebellum events that include the Fugitive Slave Act, Underground Railroad, and the Kansas-Nebraska Act, Rebecca gives birth to twins, Jackson and Arabella. But as tensions increase between the north and south and a civil war looms on the horizon, the Blackstones are all about to learn the power of battle and its ability to not just transform the country, but also their lives and the lives of their descendants.