After two decades of shame that drove him into a whiskey bottle and left him a homeless, under-a-bridge drunk, Will Gribbins has come home to face his past. He and his best friend were the only two survivors of the 1980 explosion that killed 27 Eastern Kentucky miners in the Harlan #7 Coal Mine and shattered countless other lives in the close-knit little community of Aintree Hollow. But the two young men escaped the mine that day with more than just their lives. Each carried the burden of a terrible secret about another tragedy that occurred after the explosion. When Will finally returns for the first time in 20 years for the memorial service on the anniversary of the disaster, he doesn't know his action has set in motion a chain of events that will threaten the lives of another crew of miners digging coal in a mile-deep hole under Black Mountain. As he reconnects with Aintree Hollow--with Granny Sparrow, whose grief has imprisoned her, JoJo, who carries a terrible secret of her own and Jamey, a mentally handicapped boy who carves magical coal statutes the suspense mounts. But Will doesn't see the danger. Or that the mystery of the boy holds the key to it all. When the fate of innocent miners is again placed in Will's hands, can he summon the courage he lacked two decades ago? Is he man enough to save them--even if it means he must do the thing he fears most?