San Francisco has been torched twice in the space of six weeks. Merchants and residents are angry and organized in a Committee of Vigilance to arrest, try and hang the arsonists and all the other cutthroats, villains and armed criminals that make the city a dangerous, lawless den of inequity in 1851 and 1852. The Governor, his cronies and the corrupt city and county officials are determined to rein in the Committee of Vigilance even if it means civil war.
Pierre and Manon Dubois must negotiate their way carefully through the minefield of warring factions, treacherous streets, and from competition of the boatloads of new immigrants, jezebels and fortune hunters arriving weekly. The city is still a ruthless man’s world where Yankee men control commerce, can bribe juries and customs officials, and deport foreign immigrants at will. Can Manon realize her dream to own and run a high-end French restaurant employing women chefs in competition with the established male-owned and staffed restaurants? Can Pierre establish a viable notary and private detective agency in this uncertain environment? Can Manon’s women partners, associates and employees prevail in their careers in the still lawless town with over 2,000 saloons, innumerable gambling palaces and dens, fancy bordellos and sex slave cribs?