Powderkeg is a tale of high adventure, romance, and political intrigue that takes us from the frozen windswept reaches of the Utah Territory in winter to the halls of Congress and the office of President James Buchanan, a man haunted by the hobgoblins of secession and determined to leave office with the Union intact, no matter the cost. Others in Washington are equally determined that this should not be: men who dream of a separate nation, one that will stretch from the Carolinas to California - the Confederate States of America. Foremost among them are three Southern members of Buchanan's own cabinet, including Jefferson Davis, the secretary of war and senior senator from Mississippi. The instrument they choose to bring their dream a giant step closer to fruition is Brevet Brig. Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston, widely acclaimed as the army's finest field commander. On a sunny morning in the fall of 1857, Johnston leads an army of three thousand men out of Fort Leavenworth on an epic forced march that will take them twelve hundred miles to the Utah Territory and Salt Lake City - a punitive expedition against the "rebellious" Mormon settlers led by territorial governor Brigham Young. It is a powderkeg that could blow the Union apart!