A full-bodied historical novel with a somewhat new handling of circumstances and background. The period spans the years of the mounting fervor of the Abolition movement, making the slave problem the paramount factor leading up to the Civil War. Character interest and incident center around one Jonathan Bradford, pledged to the cause from boyhood when his father was a martyr in the Illinois riots. He is adopted by an Abolition family, goes with them to New England, and from there is sent by Theodore Parker to act as a scout among the slave owners of the South. He proves his valor, but not his aptitude for the task, by involving himself in a succession of mishaps and missteps, which result in agony of mind and spirit, an unhappy love affair, a duel, recurrent imprisonment and escape, mock trial, again escape, only to face the supreme penalty when he is caught helping slaves to freedom. Finally, return to prison, this time as military prisoner in the stockades of Georgia. An unfortunate and stupid marriage is terminated during his years reported missing; and the end of the war finds him free to units with the love of his boyhood and youth. Plenty of adventure, glimpses of the operation of the Underground, a new slant on the war years, and the scene shifting over much of the stormy battlefronts of thought and emotion of a stormy period. It is a fresh approach -- unfortunately slow in gathering pace.