Those who have some background about the Second Civil War of 1648 in England will find this an exceptionally well researched, convincing portrayal of how many different groups of people were affected by the progress of the War. For anyone, Ralph Cole's story offers varied and intense adventure, and a wide range of characters. Fifteen year old Ralph's father had been a successful coal merchant in Newcastle, a group that supported the Royalists. When his widowed mother had decided to marry a man who was a Cavalier, Ralph rebelled and joined the forces that were attempting to hold Tynemouth Castle. It was a total defeat for the Royalists, but Ralph just barely escaped being taken captive. He was constantly being hunted down, and was shut out from the city. He found refuge with some miners at the beginning of his long wait before he could return home. It was also the beginning of an acquaintanceship with the impoverished people of the area and of an understanding of the complex personal ramifications of war. The book was written for an English audience and assumes some knowledge of the area and its history. American teenagers will, however, find this an excellent historical novel and worth any effort.