A HISTORICAL SAGA IN NINE PARTS
Book 1: The Conductor
Rule #1 in the Underground Railroad: If someone doesn’t need to know something, you don’t tell them.
Philadelphia, 1835. The journey begins. Eleven-year-old Rian Krieger has been kicked out of her third school for fighting. Desperate, Rian’s father Otto shifts her education to his carriage factory. Rian’s new life is perfect for two reasons: she doesn’t have to wear a dress and the jobs in the shop fascinate her. This confounds Otto, for he dreams that Rian will one day become a wife and helpmate to a powerful husband and they will rule Philadelphia society.
The City of Brotherly Love is a roiling stew of rivalry, prejudice, and change; German artisans, Irish immigrants, the largest population of free Blacks in America. Steam engines choosh throughout the city. Workers dig ditches for new gas street lights. The fledgling railroad industry hints that change will soon come even faster. Rian is swept into this racial and economic turmoil by three charismatic mentors. Foreman Jules Freeman, one of the few Black men in Philadelphia placed in charge of whites, introduces Rian to the secretive Underground Railroad. Rian’s Irish cousin Seamus strives to prove himself amidst the hostility of Otto’s German workers and launches a new fire brigade with a controversial mission. Next-door neighbor Lucretia Mott finds her voice as a stirring abolitionist.
Rian befriends Olivia Tucker, the daughter of slave owners from Charleston who summer in Philadelphia. Together, they plot to free Olivia’s mammy from enslavement. Secrets pile up. Rian finds that she must apply Rule #1 to many parts of her life.
Book 2: The Blackmailer
In Book 2 of Rian Krieger’s Journey, The Blackmailer, we will spend more time with Rian, her friends, and her enemies. Rian stabs a mugger, runs away to Russia, and finds herself in the center of events with historical implications.
In books 3 - 9, Rian will set her sights on running Krieger Locomotive, live in Newport, Pennsylvania, become a stationmaster in the Underground Railroad, join the fight for women’s suffrage, travel to San Francisco during the Gold Rush, return to Philadelphia after a harrowing journey, fight in the Civil War, make and lose fortunes, and come to terms with who Rian Krieger really is.