In West Virginia at the In Farmington #9 mine, a methane explosion blows the top
off of a mountain, killing 78 miners.
Subsequently, Congress creates the Miners Enforcement Safety Agency (MESA, later
renamed MEHA) to establish a standard of safety in the country’s mines.
Immediately, a nationwide call goes out for veteran miners to police the mines.
In the fiercely-independent Appalachian coalfields-the same coal fields that drove
out the United Mine Workers Union--recruiting inspectors is next to impossible, finding
ones who will stand up to the mines’ lawbreakers is impossible.
The impossible appears when AB Stahill, a refugee seeking vindication for cowardice
and determined to find retribution for his father’s death and the derangement of
his boyhood friend, returns home. MESA offers a road to redemption that will bury
a haunting past.
Redemption lures AB to the largest mine and biggest abuser of MESA laws—the Skotos
Mine--a time bomb waiting for ignition. But before he can get at the Skotos Mine,
he must deal with the wife and child he deserted and a younger brother whom he betrayed.
The catalyst for retribution is Bobby Chester, deformed and deranged from a mine
cave in. Retribution’s mule is Angus Taggart, the mine foreman promoting himself
on the misfortune of others. The three principals vie for dominance in Appalachia’s
raw setting, until a fourth principal they feared since childhood appears.