The Hopkins homestead was in Mattituck, Long Island, and the British were in control. Though Cousin Bess and pretty Parny, her daughter, already sheltered Gideon, Tim's elder brother, they made newcomer Tim welcome too. Tim's heart was set on a knife. Gideon -- too busy arranging to join the Patriot army -- could not supply it. When he left, he cautioned Tim to help the cause. For a time Tim thought Cousin Bess and Parny were Tories, for outwardly they sympathized with Lieutenant Green and Captain Scott, the British soldiers who confiscated their crops and were quartered at the Hopkins house. Neighbor Peter Bell, son of a hoarding opportunist who alleged fealty to the King, almost thwarted Tim's concealment of a sabotage fire set by the Patriots. But Tim had discovered the culvert in which Mr. Bell hid his cattle. When Tim later learns that a raid planned by the Patriots on a British sloop will be ambushed by the -- who used the vessel as a decoy -- he warns them in time to prevent capture. Tim is rewarded with the jackknife of Nathan Hale. Thwacking action, good plot, adventure, this is a characterful adventure story with a hero who invokes both sympathy and admiration.