A story of Reconstruction in Mississippi, which has some of the violence, the vengefulness of The Long Night (Andrew Lyttle). The brutality and despair of those bitter days as told through the story of Melancthon Fowinkle, diehard follower of Jeff Davis, who returns to his brother's plantation and his brother's wife, the widowed Rachel. Melancthon has lost an arm, and is fearful of being anything but a bystander -- too gentle, too honorable for the times, but he finds himself tormented by the proud, cruel code of his clan. Marauding, killing, lynching, ruthlessness is the toll of survival, and he forces himself against the grain, saves the plantation for Rachel, witnesses the killing of her Yankee suitor, and goes off, alone, to Texas. He is a convincing, appealing character, in a vigorous tale, holding reading, though definitely not keyed to the thin-skinned. Public libraries --'ware.