Brick has a gift for animating the past and has proved it in successive historical adventure stories. Here again he has chosen a segment of Civil War history, little known to the general reading public,- the ill-fated Dahlgren Raid. General Kilpatrick persuaded the powers in Washington to permit a long gamble that-he claimed-would bring the war to a close by capturing Richmond, seizing Davis and his Cabinet. But Kilpatrick talked too much --and he made another mistake:- he placed over his second in command, Stephens, an ambitious, foolhardy young cavalry officer, Dahlgren, whose ultimate failure gave the raid his name in history. Stephens had plenty of faults:- he had been booted from the Academy for presumably getting a girl into trouble and had been forced into a loveless marriage; he was in love with the wife of a Confederate officer and made no secret of it; and he drank more than was wise. But the project might well have had a different ending had he been left in command of his unit. The story is told through the eyes of successive people involved without sacrificing pace or a sense of mounting crisis.