The author of Walking the Whirlwind and Westward the Sun, writes in her new novel of the early ordeals of Holland, when, in the 16th century, the religious struggle against Spanish oppression turned into a national resistance, and the drama of a small people faithful to freedom proved the value of single lives in a collective endeavor. Personified in Anna Van Breda, who from 1568 to 1609 watched her sea-faring husband and sons use their abilities against the enemy, saw her country united under the House of Orange and William the Silent. She experienced dangerous ordeals as a patriot and a Lutheran and knew her Prince as friend as well as ruler. The story carries her to her years as grandmother and great-grandmother; marriages brought links with England; descendants served vicariously to link her with progress. As her men plot against the Spaniards, as they range from Africa to the Polar Seas, Anna is the focus of family strength, wisdom, endurance -- passing on her heritage to one in each generation. A matriarchal novel, that in its historical scope and direction, takes the stigma of stolidity from the Dutch and magnifies the qualities of idealism, patience, understanding. Plausible -- convincing. Slow-paced.