The course, from 1774 to 1776, that affects John Frayne, a young doctor in Wendham, Massachusetts, leads from Toryism to a willing alliance with the new breed of men who are fighting for independence. Not ready to rebel, although learning had come only from his father for medical education had been denied him and his younger brother Richard was his mother's favorite, and hopeless in his love for the Squire's daughter, Alison, John does not hold with the ""fools doomed by treason"". But, as he sees that the gentry of New England has failed in leadership, that the people have not been guarded from harsh injustice and hard rule, that backs have been turned as well as profits while simple men assume the work of government, he is willing to serve the minutemen as surgeon. When he joins the American levies besieging Boston, more of the new philosophy helps to the soul's disease, ""pride and reason"". Although he tries to hold Alison by his love to the new nation, he loses her to the enemy and has for companionship only brothers in the fight. Life in the colony and the fluctuation of public opinion, the issues and their relation to individual lives key this to a sober picture of the impact of early revolution .