This is not up to what Herbert Best can do- as once again he has tapped the rich vein of a region and a period he knows- the upper Hudson Valley and the district extending from Albany to Fort Ticonderoga. The story centers around the lad who had left the New York docks where he was a waterfront rat, and worked his way up the Hudson to join the armed forces, in any way his wits suggested. Howe is attracted to the lad and uses him as scout, spy and chore boy, in pre-Revolutionary days. He becomes a member of the renowned Rodgers Rangers; he helps uncover a dangerous plot menacing the weak point in the British-American food line. There's meat for an exciting story here, but somehow the plot lags, and the reader bogs down.