An historical novel which builds up to the Wilkinson conspiracy- a good blend of fiction and fact in a not too much storied phase of the post-Revolutionary period. Theron Hawley, veteran of the Revolution, returns to Connecticut to wind up his affairs and follow his younger brother to Wyoming. Trouble is rife between settlers from New England and Pennsylvania; Davy is killed and Theron kills a Pennsylvania militia lieutenant in revenge and then leaves for Kentucky where he settles down in a boat building company. It is there he becomes involved in knowledge of the Wilkinson conspiracy, his negotiations with the Spanish, and the threat to the American dream of westward expansion. Theron has gone down river with Wilkinson, but when the evidence of the conspiracy falls into his hands, he escapes, travels miles back through Spanish and Indian territory to turn in the evidence, only to find he has delivered himself into the hands of the conspirators. Again he escapes- this time to undertake, almost single-handed, a journey through the country urging on the people the ratification of the constitution as the one way of unifying sentiment. The thread of Theron's twisted romance -- first Althea, the Virginia belle, whom he feels he cannot forget, then Nora, bound girl, whom he rescues, and who escapes up river with him -- winds through the basic story. The book is overlong and involved, but this is a competent handling of a rather novel facet.