Jubal Pickett is the loving, warmhearted father of Gideon, a 16-year-old boy who was born mute. Although he is unable to speak, the two communicate and share a bond of closeness that is enviable. When Gideon is hospitalized with a ruptured appendix, Jubal meets Abilene. He calls her “sassy, saucy, smart and full of surprises.” They hit it off immediately. The year is 1952, and they live in Natchez, Mississippi during a time when atomic power is in its infancy and uranium is in high demand. Abilene and Jubal pool expenses and decide to take off to chase a dream. They have caught the fever sweeping the country, to get rich from mining the precious ore.
Not one to marry, Abilene is happy with this arrangement for a while. Then one day Jack Savage wanders into their comfortable life. Could it be that Gideon sees trouble brewing ahead? He may not talk, but his eyes have much to say.
Foreman molds memorable characters with depth and dimension. He is a master of character development. Abilene calls Jubal a “man of dreams” and Jack a “man of means.” Jubal is the trusting lover, devoted father and naive dreamer who could be Adam. Abilene is a modern Eve, a temptress. Yet she is lusty, greedy, desperate and conniving. She is the perfect partner for Jack, the evil snake. Gideon, although wordless, has an emotional transparency that is strong and sweet.
The historical events are subordinate to the characters and their lives. A mesmerizing story, from the beginning to the unexpected ending.