On a cold, snowy night, Haswell Magruder makes a decision that will have a profound effect on his own life as well as the lives of all those he loves. A wounded Confederate soldier appears at the family's Virginia farm, and Haswell convinces his mother and sister to take the man in, despite the certain repercussions if the enemy Yankees were to catch them in such a "traitorous" act. Unfortunately, this is precisely what happens, setting off a horrific chain of events that leaves Haswell's mother dead and the farmhouse burned to the ground. After leading his younger sister to safety with relatives, Haswell sets out on his journey in search of his older brother, a Confederate soldier. His quest is also a passage into manhood, as he experiences the last bloody days of the Civil War. Skillful storytelling, well-developed characters, and a fast-paced plot distinguish this compelling family story by an award-winning author.
With their mother dead, a thirteen-year-old boy and his sister set out across Virginia in search of relatives.