Lively, foolish Civil War adventure and espionage--with a tirelessly spunky heroine. When Count LeClerc dies in Paris, after seven years' marriage, his Southern-born widow Maritza, now 25, turns over her estate to the Count's son by an earlier marriage and also sells his newspaper Le Pays, which she has been writing for and helping to edit. With her money she buys a large supply of Enfield rifles, outfits a ship and sails home to her old Mobile plantation to auction the rifles to the highest bidder. Then--Sumter is fired upon and war is declared! And Maritza becomes an oak of supple strength dedicated to the South (but not to slavery, although she owns a cotton plantation), while writing objective news dispatches for Le Pays. (But the Jewish banker who is second in command to Jeff Davis does persuade Maritza to help the South by sending news reports which will encourage both England and France to recognize the Confederacy as a separate entity.) Throughout the War, she travels about exposing corruption and bolstering the Southern cause; and even when defeat is final, she not only reinstates her plantation on a paying basis but also saves her new Southern-colonel husband from losing his leg due to a minie ball wound (she knows all about Semmelweiss and sterilization). Plenty of bland sex sprinkled about, large lumps of historical fact and troop strategy--an old-fashioned balderdash-historical for undemanding Civil War romantics.