In this historical novel set during the Civil War, two brothers – 18-year-old Luke and 16-year-old Thomas - volunteer for the Union Army. Thomas lies about his age to join, and his older brother cannot prevent him. Influenced by the free black live-in servant, Rose, they enlist because of noble abolitionist ideals.
The story depicts what life in the army - and life during wartime - was like. The narrative moves often back and forth in time, telling the story of the boys’ lives before they enlist then the story of them serving in the army. Another story develops about some people of Gettysburg, which may become confusing for some readers. Hough’s story might have been better served with a smoother flow that doesn’t jump forward and backward along time’s continuum.