Portland, Oregon, (1861). “Necktie Social” justice is being exacted on a sixteen-year old girl for the crime of child-murder. She is the beau of beer baron Burke Kaufmann’s nephew, August Shoemacher, and some in town whisper of August’s possible involvement in the tragedy. His father wants him back in Germany where he will be safe, but Kaufmann has a better idea. Napoleon III has installed Maximilian and Charlotte as monarchs of Mexico. Emperor Max’s head brewer died en route to Mexico City, and the monarchy looked to Kaufmann’s Castle Brewery in nearby Oregon for a replacement. August needs no persuasion when he learns Pearl Crawley, his girlfriend’s older brother (and rapist) has gone to Mexico. August means to find Pearl and punish him for the role he played in his own sister’s demise. Over time, however, the young brewer’s steely vengeance softens with some understanding of his enemy. With Civil War brewing in America, threatening to sack the monarchs of Mexico, August must choose to either abandon his retribution, or abandon Max and Charlotte to a certain fate.