This is a relentless, spellbinding tale of the capture and escape of two Yankee prisoners at the turning point of the Civil War. The Seventh Connecticut Cavalry was sent to South Carolina to occupy the islands along the coast. In a bloody battle with the Rebels, Lieutenants Peter Bradford and Red Kelly are captured and sent by box car to a prison in Columbia. Their daily attempt to stay alive amid the squalor of prison is sparked by a dream nurtured by both men. When the time is finally ripe, the two manage to escape but find themselves faced by a new enemy; the rugged and endless terrain of unfamiliar land. They make their way slowly and successfully only to be captured by a southern patrol. Fortunately they are brought to the home of a southern gentleman who differentiates between prisoners of war and criminals. Despite their warm reception the boys realize the necessity of escape and once more take to the trails after a harrowing jump onto a moving train. Winter in the Smokies adds new hazards, until a kindhearted mountain woman comes to the rescue with overcoats and rations. Unlike the authentic heroes on whose story this is based, Red and Peter arrive at their destination, giving breathless readers a chance to echo a sigh of relief. Without strong coloring -- black or white, the author proves that neither side had a monopoly on virtue and/or villainy.