A grand tale -- swashbuckling, virle, lusty, stemming from a bit of little known history, and offering a full canvas of action and character. Robust escape reading, in the best historical fiction tradition. The story begins in 1858 and builds up to a finale in 1865. The setting is ""Lebanon County, Mississippi"" (alias for Jones County, where Mr. Street was raised). And the story centers around the courageously foolhardy attempt of one small segment of the South, strongly pro-Union and anti-slavery in temper, to secede from the South. Here was virtually another ""reluctant republic"" episode, lifted over into the Civil War period, much more concentrated and involving one family, with its satelities, loyal neighbors, well-wishers, et al. The Dabneys -- from the grand old boy who was their founder, down to the Cajun child who had been virtually adopted -- are of the stuff of which history and romance are made. They are historically speaking -- a composite. But the villain-hero of the p, Keith Alexander, is authentic and recognizable as Alexander Keith McClung, handsome Black Knight of Vengeance, slave only to tempestuous Morna Dabney. There are moments in the book that may shock the most straitlaced, but Street handles such scenes with rapier delicacy. A swell adventure-romance.