This rebel mail runner was Absalom Grimes, a steamboat captain in real life who cut quite a figure in Missouri during the Civil War and ran up a heroic record for bringing letters to confederate families through enemy lines. As his story is told through 17 year old Barry who joins him in his work, we get a taste of the urgencies and issues alive in 1863. For Bowling Green where Barry lives has northern and southern sympathies. When he comes there, Absalom is in particular danger from the turn- coat Buckalew and later Barry must stand trial- accused of being a spy rather than a mail carrier- before he is dramatically pardoned by Lincoln and free to learn navigation with Grimes. Good Wellman- this will appeal to his wide audience.