In the summer of 1863, Gob and Tomo Woodhull, eleven-year-old twins, together agree to forsake their home and family in Licking County, Ohio, for the glories of the Union Army. But on the night of their departure for the war, Gob suffers a change of heart, and Tomo is forced to leave his brother behind. When Tomo is shot clean through the eye in his very first battle, Gob is left to endure the guilt and grief that will later come to fuel his obsession with building a vast machine that will bring Tomo - indeed, all the Civil War dead - back to life. This vision of a world without death brings together a host of drifters, all of whom have lost someone they love. These disparate lives gather round the charismatic, brilliant, Gob, whose mad dreams come to seem more and more likely to be realised. But the abolition of death and the success of Gob's machine may come at a price more hideous and awful than anyone could imagine.
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