The magnificent Ghosthead Oak has stood watch over coastal Alabama's mysterious backwater bays and slow-running rivers, where bull alligators rumble the nerves of lesser creatures and every living thing has the capacity to kill, for five hundred years. Some say the fabled giant tree was once a knee-high seedling brushed by the black boot of Spanish conquistador Hernando Cortez. No other tree along the entire coastal crescent from New Orleans to Apalachicola can rival its majesty or its power to draw people to it. In silence and with dignity, the Ghosthead has served as sentinel to the widow's family land for countless generations. It was a childhood friend and a spirit guide in troubled times. Her father is buried in its shade. So why would the widow walk into a biker bar and hire a man to fire up his chainsaw and inflict fatal gashes around its trunk, ending in a few minutes what took five centuries to create?