The Ohio Territory and the little town of Mesopotamia is again the setting for Ellis' continuing epic of western settlement and pioneering. His previous The Bounty Lands, Jonathan Blair focused on land speculation and the law. This extended effort, full of reckless romanticism, is the story of Saul Brooks, a doctor, a man driven by events into a trade and a way of life which completely dominated him. In 1813 Brooks was a sergeant in the American forces under Harrison. He was pressed into service as a surgeon's mate, was held responsible for the death of the commanding officer, Col. Jordan, and was thereafter compelled to retribution, forced into medicine as a kind of inverted atonement. His responsibility further encompasses Jordan's son, named after Brooks, and to Jordan's young widow, Felicia. Brooks, although he has repeatedly attempted to leave the Mesopotamia area for a more lucrative practice and the official sanction of the M.D., becomes too involved with the problems of the settlers -- epidemics, the removal of the Indians, scheming land- grabbing -- and eventually with Felicia Jordan whom he marries. Brooks is a living legend, is not rewarded until his stepson achieves the M.D. Although not a book of deep resonance -- becomes at times a series of expanded anecdotes -- this story has a sturdy freshness, energetic idealism, and a final insistence on a sense of life.