In a fast-paced adventure, a teen-ager is swept up in Texas' war for independence. Tim Piper is in a perfect position to watch events unfold: having left his happy New Orleans family to work on a cousin's ferry across the Brazos (i.e., the Rio Grande), Tim not only sees many prominent men pass through but is privy to the travelers' news and gossip. With the whole country aboil under Santa Anna's cruel regime, Tim enlists in Houston's army, sticks it out through disease, confusion, and weary marches, and--on his 15th birthday--fights at the climactic battle of San Jacinto. Wisler focuses on plot and anecdote; readers will gain a clear grasp of historical events but won't get much sense of the setting or of the characters' appearance. Most of the Texans are rough but generous; Tim may worry about being accepted, but his path is smoothed by his new friends. Wisler suggests war's horrors without dwelling on them, preserving Tim's (and the story's) essential innocence. Accurate, well-crafted, traditional historical fiction.