As a prosecuting attorney Penn Cage sent hardened killers to death row. But it is as mayor of his hometown that he will face his most dangerous enemy. In its quest for new jobs and fresh money, the town of Natchez has turned to gambling. Five fantastical steamboats float on the river, but one boat isn’t like the others. Rumour has it that the Magnolia Queen has found a way to pull in the big players. And with them comes an unquenchable taste for blood sport, and the dark vices that go with it. When a childhood friend of Penn’s, who brings him evidence of the sickening crimes, is murdered, he begins a dangerous quest to find those responsible.