Michael Kavanaugh has a problem. In ten months on his twenty-first birthday, he is slated for promotion to manager. As a manager, he will be primed to succeed his father as the First Manager, the leader of New Washington. His fiancee, Laura Coventry, is a very sexy woman. His problem is Liz Pinetree, a peasant field worker. He can't stay away from her. Sam Cooper, the Director of Public Safety, has his officers monitoring Michael's nightly forays into the woods for his clandestine meetings with his peasant girlfriend. Cooper has been keeping Joe Kavanaugh, Michael's father abreast of the situation. The population of New Washington consists of two very distinct classes. The nobles are the rulers and live in the luxury of a deteriorating mountain complex. The peasants work the fields and reside in wooden huts on ash lined streets. Although trysts with peasant woman are not unheard of, serious relationships have serious consequences in a society whose executions are by fire. Michael risks everything, including his life, if he chooses to continue his secret relationship."