Lots of murder and rape and pillage in this historical adventure set in upstate New York at' the time of the Revolution. Cassie Bedham spends her days spinning wool, stirring succotash, and wondering whether she'll marry Elijah, her reliable local suitor, or Gideon, the handsome stranger her brother has brought home from college. Little does she know what those drumbeats in the distance portend: first her younger brother gets mauled by a bear while scouting with the militia, then her older brother dies in wretched conditions in a British prison. Gideon, who has reasons for wanting revenge against her family, kidnaps her and makes her his camp follower. She returns home to find her kin at the mercy of British raiders, who rape her younger sister to death and leave Cassie crazed and pregnant. Nothing gets better until guess-who wins the war and Cassie's old suitor comes home. A Bicentennial leftover--gorier in detail than most but otherwise predictable.