Nothing could have been different.
Laurence Mahler returns to Petersburg after five years in the North.
He never felt he belonged in the places where he was away from home. And he never felt he belonged in the place that’s home. Adrift and directionless, he’s a freethinker troubled by Virginia’s secession. He feels loyalty neither to the Confederacy or to the Union.
He meets Sharyn Strahy, an intelligent and ambitious young woman of means. They fall instantly in love—but the time for romance is not propitious. The quivers of love fly amid the darts of Civil War.
Encouraged by Sharyn, Laurence enrolls in a school where all the courses are pass-or-die. Enlisting in the Confederate army, his life changes in a sudden maturity when he surrenders the peaceable halls of academia for gruesome battles in grim places like The Wilderness.
Nothing could have different in Sharyn’s life.
Enthusiastic for Confederate victory, Sharyn learns the ghastly cost of total war when she volunteers in the Virginia Hospital. The grotesque deformations she views in men made in the image of God reveal the error of her heedless patriotism. Innocence is always the first virtue obliterated in the majesty of rebellion.