The discovery of a dead body on an isolated island in Rice Lake sends saddlebag preacher Thaddeus Lewis on a desperate hunt for the truth. Now, a woman for whom he feels a guilty attraction stands accused of being an accessory to murder. Meanwhile, railway mania grips the county: everyone expects to get rich off the Cobourg|Peterborough railway line | some at the expense of others. Aided by his fifteen-year-old granddaughter and a charming but inexperienced lawyer, Thaddeus defends the woman, while privately questioning his motives for doing so. With little hard evidence to go on, the courtroom battle to prove the woman|s innocence seems doomed | until a startling discovery gives the case a fighting chance. But the team|s digging uncovers a conspiracy that could threaten the future of the entire district. With the fortunes of the county, and Thaddeus|s own future, on the line, he struggles against shady dealings and his own conscience.