In a departure from his Jeff White series, Mr. Dietz turns to the French and Indian Wars and the period of rising American patriotism for a pioneer story that still has to do with lumber. It is near a Massachusetts garrison town that the Dunnicans have settled to clear their land and young Thad, is all but grown as the story begins. Then as his father applies for a license to cut pines and sell them as ship masts, other elements enter in to create a sense of urgency when international tension grows and becomes more complicated than a merely French-British issue. Whit Carswell, a young trader who becomes Thad's friend, hates the Indians for valid reasons though Thad cannot share his animosity fully. Also, as Thad's father sells the pines, there is trickery where his license is concerned and he comes to resent the royal prerogatives over the trees. Inevitably war comes, but with it there is a measure of Justice that convinces the Dunnicans and Whit of the necessity to work and win their full rights in a new land.