The so-called Grierson Raid is history. It is on the known facts of this exploit, when a Union brigade went through the heart of Confederate Mississippi that this absorbing novel is based. Beyond that, and with the exception of a very few names taken from the record, this is fiction but so convincing in its details that the reader feels- ""So it must have been"". The central figure is Colonel Marlowe, whose assignment is to cut the supply line to Vicksburg -- and then get himself out as best he can. It seemed an impossible task -- to Marlowe, to his superiors, to the officers to whom particular facets of the task were given, to the men themselves, to whom seventeen days in the saddle, with food rations for five days- and ""living off the land"" a pipe dream in an area already stripped to bare essentials. But it was done, though not without heartbreak, errors of judgment, excesses of endurance, outbreak of temper --all of which give the record a verisimilitude that makes the reader read this as first hand reporting at the source. In the rash of books about the Civil War, this is outstanding.