While our first two novels have been based primarily in Boston, Massachusetts, our third encompasses the area of southwestern Connecticut. The small town of Redding, Connecticut, located just northwest of Fairfield, was a Tory town and the home of our nonpartisan family, the Meekers. Our novel begins with Sam, a young college student at Yale, leaving school and returning home to fight for "his country". Sam has gone home to borrow his father's Brown Bess, a celebrated shooting musket, and he plans to join the Continental Army to fight the "lobsterbacks". A major problem arises for Sam when his father refuses to let him take the firearm and curses Sam for planning to get involved in the fighting. Mr. Meeker is adamantly against all wars and tells Sam that by fighting he is committing treason against the King of England. The story is narrated by Sam's younger brother Tim, who watches the war edge closer and closer until troop movements engulf his family and surrounding areas. Young Tim looks on as his loyalist father and his rebel partisan older brother confront each other but can never make much sense of their political differences. Sam causes his family severe anguish when he runs away to fight with the Continental Army.
This book realistically deals with the horrors of war, carefully blending fact and fiction to reveal the agony and suffering of one Connecticut family. What begins for Tim as a kind of strange adventure turns sharply disturbing. Tim witnesses the brutal murder of a patriot slave at the hands of the British soldiers. Ned's murder causes Tim to rethink his loyalties. The Patriots are also depicted in a harsh and realistic light when Tim's father is imprisoned for allegedly selling his cattle to the British. The novel ends tragically with Sam being convicted and subsequently executed by the Patriots for a crime that he did not commit. It's the human cost of war and not the political issues involved that Tim comes to understand so well. This is a sobering tale that will leave readers with mature view of history and war.