While Portsmith is undergoing its annual Delinquency Purge, Herald and his team of rebellious writers–Virtue, Law, Blasphemy, Parody, Doxy, Hearsay, Gospel, and Corollary–are hiding in the watch room of a lighthouse. Their island sanctuary, provided by the one they call “Captain,” is almost too good to be true. The ocean views are breathtaking, the apples are ripe and fresh from the orchard, and Herald hasn’t had a problem keeping warm at night.
But Herald can never escape the truth. Their crimes are punishable by death or the unthinkable, and Herald is at risk more than anyone. And Virtue, the girl he is completely and recklessly in love with, must conform to the Maineland’s polygamous tradition or risk becoming Fallow, a barren lifestyle a woman must endure if she refuses to play by the rules. Though Virtue’s charm and beauty are entrancing, any husband she desires surely in her power to obtain, she’s forced to make an immediate decision–love or material comfort. But has she forgotten? She’s a woman and “choice” abandons her. It’s all one nightmare or another. Her fate is in God’s hands, and in Portsmith, that isn’t very reassuring. . . .