Jacob's Ladder : Jacob's Ladder is a Civil War epic, a love story that pits the indomitable longing of the human heart against circumstances of racism, slavery, and war. Duncan Gatewood, seventeen and heir to the Gatewood Plantation, falls in love with Maggie, a mulatto slave, who conceives a son, Jacob. Maggie and Jacob are sold south, and Duncan is packed off to the Virginia Military Institute. As Duncan fights for Robert E. Lee, Jesse - a Gatewood slave whose love for Maggie is unrequited - escapes north and enlists in Lincoln's army, determined to confront his former masters, while Maggie finds herself living a life she never could have imagined as the wife of a blockade runner. 525 pages.