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Preston Diamond On The Mississippi River

In the1870's, two hundred forty million dollars is an incomprehensible figure – even for the United States government – but that is the amount the treasury has slated for railroad construction. President Grant's vision is to have a colossal steel network connecting east, west, north and south; bringing modernization to every corner of the country. But there aren't many people the President can trust with a quarter billion dollars. Everybody wants a fistful; a few want it all. Funds are disappearing faster than rifle smoke on a windy afternoon.

Grant's private emissary, Preston Diamond, is sent to the Mississippi River to put a lid on a war simmering between the dying steamship trade and the burgeoning railroad industry. Preston's White House liaison, Luxembourg, and Master Xi-Ping Chiang go along for the ride. What they uncover is bigger than anyone, including President Grant, could have imagined. The investigation takes Preston up the Mississippi from New Orleans to Minneapolis. Then, hot on the trail of a ruthless crew of butchers, Diamond is caught in two of the worst disasters in the nation's history: Wisconsin's Peshtigo Forest Fire and the Great Chicago fire ... On the same day.

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