A story of the Kentucky hill country, of a place and a people which know little change, of pride and loyalty which is self-contained and a code of conduct which is self-imposed. In the soft, slow idiom of thin region, Jeff Harbin looks back on his boyhood and his friendship with Falency John, who fought his first fight for him- then taught him to fight back, gave him a hound pup, elicited a steady devotion and admiration. But it is only Jeff who doesn't know that Faleecy John is his half-brother, the bastard son of Mark Harbin, and that the spirited ambition of the older boy is fed by a resentment which is first exposed when Faleecy John takes over Jeff's girl. Cut off by Mark Harbin, who refuses the land he had agreed to sell him, Faleecy John is one of the night riders who burn Mark's barns to the ground in the tobacco war, and he has his final revenge in the seduction of Lucibel, Jeff's mother. And it is Jeff, to save Lucibel from herself and Mark from the betrayal of his wife, who kills his friend in an act of violence and conscience... Sustained in its intensity, soft in sympathy, this is a first novel of particular character and conviction.