Collier, always unafraid to tackle complex issues, here takes on class conflict in present-day America. Chris, 14, is a poor relative of the Winchesters, who control the economic life of their Massachusetts community. But he has gone to school with children of workers in the Winchester mill, including his best friend and his girlfriend. Thus, he is torn when the workers vote to strike instead of accepting pay cuts that his family say are needed to keep the mill open in the face of foreign competition. Meanwhile, his friends refuse to see him, viewing him as the enemy: he lives on the estate. But despite his uncle's urging and the possibility that he might one day manage the mill, Chris is unsure. His vacillation finally endangers him; at the dose, he is going away to school, and beginning to ask thoughtful questions about the decision he must ultimately make. The characters here, barely sketched, seem older than described. And, while involving, the story throws a lot of complicated questions at the reader, ultimately serving more effectively as a generator of discussion about the varieties of power use and abuse than as a novel.