An unusual bit of historical fiction, woven into a plausible and very readable tale. It is a story built around the Loomis gang, a family of counterfeiters and horse thieves, who -- in their softer moments -- were good to the poor and to some of their neighbors. (The section is near Waterville, N.Y., the time round and about the Civil War.) Into this family the author has projected her fictional character, one member who yearned to be honest, and who yet could not turn against his kin. As the plot unfolds, one gets a fresh slant on sectional history and politics, and the story comes to a head when the gang is smashed -- and the boy saved for the girl he loves. This should reach a market for historical romance.