In a world where everyone has something to say, Malchus Hemmings is silent. His alcoholic father has no patience for his mute son and throws Malchus out. The lad adapts to life on the streets of 19th Century Philadelphia—and survives by scrounging and begging…and neither seeks nor welcomes companionship.
That is…until he stumbles into the crude living quarters of two orphan boys during a storm. When he is offered a bed for the night the young Hemmings is drawn to the charismatic “Darby”, who is two years older and takes his inability to speak in stride. Jim, a sullen ten year-old, grudgingly accepts the newcomer into their partnership.
Life is a series of ups and downs as Hemmings learns the art of thievery from his companions. He suffers abuse from street urchins, murderous gang leaders, and his own father who seems to lurk in every shadow. Malchus longs to know God, but when the chilling hand of death strikes a severe blow, his fragile faith falters. With both his soul and life on the line, Malchus at least reaches out in desperation.