A haunting new novel from one of America's most prolific and respected novelists. Mudgirl is a child abandoned by her mother in the silty flats of the Black Snake River. Cast aside, Mudgirl survives by an accident of fate - or destiny. After her rescue, she will slowly forget her own origin, her past erased, her future uncertain. The well-meaning couple who adopt Mudgirl quarantine her poisonous history behind the barrier of their Quaker values: compassion, modesty, and hard work - seemingly sealing it off forever. But the bulwark of the present proves surprisingly vulnerable to the agents of the past. Meredith 'M.R.' Neukirchen is the first woman president of a prestigious Ivy League university whose commitment to her career and moral fervor for her role are all-consuming.