Every Island Fled A (1964) dealt with certain ethical and religious aspects of war and so does this rather glum little parable. It must be a parable since the physical circumstance on which it is structured demands an act of faith; namely that two years later David Keogh, whose father had secured a medical deferment for him, returns to his draft board to learn who had taken his place and secures the name, John Cross (yes, a symbol). The $300 tag was the price paid to avoid fighting during the Civil War but David has rejected his father's attempt, gone on to war, and here archetypically is usually called ""the soldier."" Now he looks up Cross ""the man on the next card in the file,"" finds he has lost his hand, and takes him home to his father's house for one confrontation after another, with his father, with his stepmother, etc. Most of the book is handled through significant interchanges, short, stark, rather stunted sentences spoken in a tone of unrelieved bitterness, or portentousness.