Sugar-coated historical fiction -- a period on which little has been done -- and a careful avoidance of the major sin of purple passages makes this easy for those who like to get our country's story painlessly. The time is the 17th century -- the place South Carolina -- and the central character, Dirk Edmonds, who has escaped from a pirate vessel where he was being hold captive by Paul Ledou for the ransom they hoped his miserly elder brother would pay, back in England. Dirk planned to hide until the vessel left harbor; then to use money (rightfully taken from his just inheritance, he feels) to present himself to Charlestown society as the gentleman he is. But his first encounter on the new continent is with a dead Spaniard hanging from a tree; his second with imperious Harriott Clayton demanding assistance at the burial. Fear of the Spaniards makes any stranger suspect. In the town, and only by the intervention of the one flesh and blood character in the book, Abbie Bradford, a sparrow of a woman with a mind of her own, is Dirk rescued from this difficulty, only to find himself in another -- for Abbie has designs on him for her niece -- and he has fallen in love with Harriott. It takes some derring do -- and some shifts of suspicion -- before Dirk's sincere desire to help rescue Charlestown from the enemy convinces the hesitant Harriott that she can transfer allegiance from the dead Spaniard to the living Dirk...Maybe it will all seem better in Technicolor.