Bronwen Llyr, niece of Glynis Tryon, the Seneca Falls librarian who banishes musty stereotypes of Monfredo’s own profession, is a US Treasury agent, providing President Lincoln with some of the most valuable Civil War intelligence available. But not even courageous Bronwen, her sister Kathryn, a Union Army nurse, and her brother Seth, a Union Army officer, can compensate for the cowardly incompetence of General George McClellan, Lincoln’s commander-in-chief, and the incredibly bloody and septic conditions for wounded soldiers. The Assistant Secretary of the Navy wants Bronwen to thwart British agent Colonel Dorian De Warde before he recommends the Confederate cause to the British, and to discover how a blockade-runner consistently delivers British-made weapons to the Confederacy. Lincoln himself, however, allows her to postpone the assignment and go instead to Richmond to rescue Lincoln’s friend Arthur Quiller, and her own fellow agent Tristan Marshall, from an incognito stay in a Confederate hospital—along with her sister, her sister’s adopted orphan, and his dog—during the bloody farce of the Union Army’s failure to capture Richmond. The rendering of that battle and its aftermath makes up for the coincidences that reunite the Llyr siblings, Aunt Glynis, and assorted lovers and hangers-on. But Bronwen must leave and proceed to Norfolk to ferret out traitors abetting the blockade-runner.
The Red Badge of Courage meets Gone With the Wind in the conclusion of Monfredo’s Civil War trilogy (Brothers of Cain, 2001, etc.), as historical romance intermittently mists over her cool eye for historical reality.