In February 1812, Major General Isaac Brock must defend Upper Canada against American attack, but he lacks sufficient numbers to succeed in this endeavor. If the Indians rise up against the Americans, he might have a chance. A young man, recently returned from a fur trading expedition, knows Tecumseh and has lived with the Shawnee. Jonathan Westlake never thought to join the British army, but in attempting to save a young woman from her abusive stepfather, Jonathan almost kills the man. Brock agrees to protect Jonathan from prosecution if he undertakes a secret mission. His thoughts remain with Mary during his journey, but constant obstacles – captured as a spy after crossing the border, a brutal American sergeant, and a mysterious mercenary intent on killing Jonathan – delay his mission and his plans to return to Mary. After participating in the successful capture of Fort Mackinac, Jonathan discovers that Mary and her stepfather are also present and in the company of the mercenary, who’s killed a friend. When he goes to her rescue and to confront the murderer, the trio has disappeared. Rather than pursue them as he wishes, Jonathan must continue his secret mission or General Brock will face defeat.
Told from several points of view and from both Canadian and American perspectives, readers experience the Battle of Tippecanoe through the taking of Fort Detroit during the early days of the War of 1812. This is a gripping tale of brutality, treachery, loyalty, and friendship. If any scene doesn’t quite ring true, it’s the scene involving Mary soon after her rape. Overall, however, Taylor spins a well-rounded and riveting tale of war, love of country, and friendship, a tale where the reader comes to understand some issues that caused the war and how those involved felt.