We highly recommend this beautifully woven novel about idealism and the complex forces that impel men to act as they do. Romulus Linney tells his story with the honesty and deep compassion of a man who loves his North Carolina mountains and the people who live there...William Starns at is an angry man, a drunken drifter living a hand-to-mouth existence before a chance meeting with the man who is to change his life, Bishop Ames. The Bishop is drawn to Starns because of the striking resemblance he bears to his tragic father. Perhaps, he feels, if he can save this man from a meaningless life he will be able to erase his sense of guilt. Bit by bit, the Bishop gains his confidence and then his faith. When told of the isolated group living in Heathen Valley, ignorant of God's ways, Starns' simple comment is ""Poor folks has poor ways"". But it takes Starns, the ignorant drifter, to fulfill the Bishop's dream of a successful mission among these wary and suspicious people. For six years the mission flourishes under the Bishop's direction and Starns' dedication. It provides ""a school that taught, a hospital that healed, a store that didn't cheat and a church that didn't presume"". And then the Bishop's obsessive concern with the fine points of Methodist theology 100 years ago and his own salvation bring about ruin and disaster. An extraordinary first novel.