Twelve-year-old Edward never imagined life without his young companion and servant, Simon. But when the Union army arrives at the plantation, Simon "runs off" to freedom, and Edward's family flees to Petersburg. Soon Petersburg is under siege and Edward is unnerved by the constant shelling. But when desperate courage enables him to save his brother's life, Edward begins to recognize his inner strength. Meanwhile, Simon earns his keep with the Union army and realizes that freedom can be lonely. He faces loss, danger, and hostility and begins to wonder if he'll ever truly belong. Told from alternate points of view, Across the Lines explores the importance of friendship and choice as two boys struggle to understand the meaning of courage and freedom.
Edward, the son of a plantation owner, and his black house servant and friend, Simon, witness the siege of Petersburg.