How can you prove your father’s not a deserter when you don’t know where he is and he hasn’t communicated in months?
What do you do when you’re fogged in on the waters of Chesapeake Bay and your sole companion doesn’t even speak English?
Lewis Elliot and his mother, Stella, are forced to flee their Baltimore home for the modest farm of their cousins in Gloucester County, Virginia. They arrive just as the feared Lord Cornwallis and the hated Colonel Banastre Carleton take up residence in Gloucester Point and across the York River in Yorktown. The war heats up as Cornwallis fortifies Yorktown and Carleton begins foraging raids in Gloucester County.
Then, while Lewis and his cousins, Lloyd and Tetty, are off to Gloucester Courthouse to try to sell enough tobacco to provide for the family, Carleton raids the family farm and Stella receives a life-threatening injury.
Through battle, betrayal, unexpected alliances, and, apparently, the Hand of God, Lewis and his cousins and friends take a role in the events leading to Cornwallis’s surrender on October 19, 1781, after the last major battle of the Revolutionary War.
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Book 2: The Blood of Patriots and Tyrants
Will the colonies lose everything they fought for?
Confronted with economic collapse and near anarchy, who can save the union?
Will freedom just be a new tyranny?
Three destitute young men must find their fortunes amidst squabbling colonies that can’t determine how to govern. They can barely feed and clothe themselves, with virtually no money to be found anywhere, in addition to having to face bad weather, epidemics, thieves, and cut-throats confronting them at every turn. Will competing parties with fears of monarchy and fears of anarchy ever be able to compromise enough to develop a stable nation in which our young men can flourish?
After the allied victory over the British at the Battle of Yorktown and the shutting down of the Revolutionary War, three young men, one of whom had been on the opposite side of the others during the war, find themselves thrown together and sent in search of the education that will allow them to realize their dreams.
After being cheated of the funds to continue their education, the three are sent off to Philadelphia to intern with one of America’s most successful men. Each is assigned a different task, according to his predilections, and each learns and grows both in his task and in his personal maturity.
However, during this formative part of their lives, these three young men witness a phenomenally unruly time in the creation of both a government and a single nation from thirteen diverse colonies and multiple clashing opinions. The ensuing uncertainty contributes to a sense of insecurity and pessimism about their futures. Interacting with and getting to know significant figures of the time is a boon to each as he develops his skills. But ultimately, despite good intentions and frequent helpfulness, no one is able to give these young men a life that they do not claim themselves.
Ultimately, then, the vicissitudes of governance and economics make this time like a ride on a runaway horse during which each young man has highs and lows, and each is eventually left on his own – though still bound in friendship to one another – to forge a future.
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Book 3: Fire as Their Element
But everywhere they turn, Lewis, Crispin, and Gilly find violence, falsehood, and betrayal.
The French Revolution has turned into the Terror.
Barbary rulers break their treaties, capturing American ships and enslaving their crews.
There’s rioting in England, revolution in Ireland, battles in Belgium, perfidy on the Atlantic.
So, perhaps, they need to find their way back home to America. But what do they discover there? Epidemic in Philadelphia, Indian wars on the frontier, politics and party hatreds in government chambers and on the streets, lies and libels in newspapers, broadsheets, and pamphlets.
Is there peace anywhere? Is there any place of stability where a young man can settle into his profession, get married and raise a family, in the expectation of peace and prosperity?
And as a last straw, their friend, Hamilton, is killed in a duel.
Is it reasonable for Lewis to become a diplomat? Does diplomacy work?
Can Crispin, in good conscience, remain a journalist and artist?
Will Gilly be able to sustain a new French restaurant in the face of rampant popular opposition to the French following the XYZ Affair and the devolution of the French Revolution?
It’s a new century and every prospect is open to the new United States. Or is it? Will the nation founder on the rocks of civil unrest and confusion, or will Americans be able to keep the republic?