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.

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  • South Carolina Book Award Nominee
  • New York State Reading Association Charlotte Award Master List



"A hard-hitting Civil War novel. . . honest grapplings with complex issues. . . will win readers' interest and sympathy from the outset."—Publishers Weekly

"Entertaining and thought-provoking. . . a strong adventure. . . that resonates with universal themes."—Horn Book

"A first-rate story. . . an essential addition to Civil War collections."—Kirkus Reviews

"[A] wonderfully written story peopled by believable, three-dimensional characters."—School Library Journal

"The action is fast and furious, and kids will be caught up in the story."—ALA Booklist

"Even if the fiction shelves are drooping with middle-grade Civil War novels, find room to squeeze in one more."—The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

ISBN-13/EAN: 978-0-618-18190-2 Hardcover