The troubles of the oppressed people of Skye, begun in Ribbon of Fire (1962) continue here, and deepen. The Laird is dead and with him the reform he promised the crofters and the education he promised young Alasdair Stewart. Instead, Alasdair is apprenticed to a powerful local innkeeper where he becomes involved, unwittingly, in terrorist actions, and is imprisoned. Smuggled away from his captors, he finds himself in the presence of Lachlann Ban, the area's legendary hero who has returned to lead the people. Alasdair joins his group, and, under Lachlann's clever leadership they elude the law and outwit the local overseer. But harsh punishment for all is sure to come from such unlawful acts, and a friendly attorney persuades Lachlann that the people's cause will be better served by legal process and government sympathy. Convinced that they have made a stand for freedom, that the ""sound of trumpets"" will prevail, the small band sets out for the more congenial climate of America. This last--the reluctant withdrawal of a glorious firebrand--gives the book its chief distinction; otherwise it is fairly heavy going, without the variety of character and situation of its predecessor. In both, the historical setting is difficult for American readers to determine. With its flaws, it still scores as a realistic, unsentimental picture of Scotland and its impoverished but indomitable people.