Kjelgaard as usual spins an inescapable web holding the reader fast from his opening paragraph to the end of the tale. Here is a Civil War story in which characters dominate the conflict. There is Ling Stewart, the illiterate woodsman who had protected Ann Pollard, a sheltered gracious Virginia girl, after a Cherokes raid killed her mother and brother and left her father mindless in the handsome old Pollard homestead. Ann married Ling in grateful devotion and when his rebellious nature brought him to trial before Judge Colin Campbell she meets the man whose sympathies and education attract her more than she wishes. Colin's engagement to a flighty belle terminates when he tries to buy the Pollard place. Before he leaves for war, Colin faces the fact that he loves Ann. After Ling's death in battle Colin returns to Ann and a bright future. A spellbinder, this is a fine period plece, with a fascinating cast of Virginians, frontieramen and planters, aecessionials and soldiers, all vitally affected by whether the Union would stand.