This Civil War novel has a freshness unusual to the genre, to which the prevailing frontier spirit is contributory. In the background the effects of the war reverberate on the German colony of Fredericksburg, Texas, which exemplifies Texas' peculiar situation as a border state between the old South and the new West. Dissension among these emigrants from European civil wars is especially sharp and the plight of those who wish to remain neutral is tragic. The central story concerns the efforts of banker Ritter to aid the Union while posing as a loyal Southerner in Confederate San Antonio. He is ably assisted by Alan Barry, a frontier surveyor who finds it impossible to remain uninvolved. Caroline Ritter, the banker's daughter, provides the obligatory romance.... While the writing is workaday, the action is steady and stalwart.