In the dizzying world above ten thousand feet, lust for gold, for power, and for flesh intoxicates even the most prudent soul. When the notorious heiress to the Eye Dazzler Mine fortune, Lucinda Ridenour, chooses young Kit Randall to be her lover, he thinks he has the world at his feet, but when their affair takes a freefall into depravity and excess, he must negotiate the troubled waters of his own character in a society without clear signposts or rules. After waking up from an absinthe-laced hallucination in which unspeakable acts seem to have taken place, Kit angrily leaves the house of Lucinda and her twenty-year-old son, Christopher, feeling betrayed and exploited.
When Lucinda is found stabbed to death, Leadville, already frenzied by labor unrest and the impending arrival of the railroad, threatens to explode. Kit’s uncle, Brad Randall, and his fiancé, Eden Murdoch, arrive in this maelstrom planning to celebrate their wedding, but are shocked to learn their chosen best man is the primary suspect in the heiress’s death.
Kit is not the only suspect however. Lucinda and Christopher fired the Eye Dazzler’s chief superintendent Jacob Landry, the day before the murder. His union activities were thought to have inspired the dismissal, though gossip abounds that his disastrous love affair with Lucinda before her husband’s death played a role.
Kit’s former girlfriend, Bella Valentine dabbles in the occult and wants Kit back at any cost, but would she stoop to murdering her rival? Christopher Ridenour thinks he has found the murder weapon and is convinced Kit killed his mother, yet he strangely does not share this information with the police.
Eden resolves to learn the truth and knows the answer must lie within the walls of the Ridenour mansion. She sets upon a course to learn its sordid past and shocking secrets.