Having survived the bloody Battle of New Orleans and the loss of their ironclad Yazoo River, captain Samuel Bowater, engineer Hieronymus Taylor, and the survivors of their crew are given new orders -- take command of an ironclad warship being built in Memphis, Tennessee.
Bowater and his men take passage upriver from "Mississippi" Mike Sullivan, one of the wild, undisciplined captains of the River Defense Squadron, only to find, on their arrival, that their ship is not even half built and the enemy is closing fast.
Against their better judgment, Bowater and crew join forces with the mercurial Sullivan on board his ad hoc river gunship the General Page. Outnumbered and outgunned, the Confederates once again fling themselves bravely at the overwhelming power of the Yankee invaders. The deadly back-and-forth fight along the Mississippi ends at last in the massive naval battle of Memphis, and the near-suicidal attempt by the Confederates to hold back the Northern flood.
Filled with wild characters and heart-pounding action, and set against the bold backdrop of the Civil War, Thieves of Mercy is a worthy successor to the W. Y. Boyd Award-winning novel Glory in the Name, the book Bernard Cornwell lauded as "by far, the best Civil War novel I've read."