Adults and young adults 16 and older:
The story follows 17 year old Jonathan Penny from his first battle as a Private in the Union army, through the next 14 months. He gains recognition as an exceptional soldier moving up the ranks rapidly and even spending time undercover as a spy in a rebel encampment. He saves the life of a Rebel Soldier and they establish a peculiar, if extraordinary, friendship.
Johnny hates the war. He hates killing. He meets truly good people on both sides of the conflict and ponders the big questions and conundrums that enter his life: How can good people commit such evil acts as killing each other; how was he able, day after day, battle after battle kill other boys his age – boys he had no reason to hate; why, generation after generation, were men unable to see the folly of war – the pain, the maiming, the destruction, the death. War was a battle of ideas – killing off a generation of boys would never kill ideas. Why did love keep losing to evil? Eventually, he had an encounter with a truly evil man. It was horrendous and for him, life altering.
This is a story of man’s most egregious act – the perpetration of war. This is an exploration of the motivation, the execution, and the always devastating conclusion of that senseless, vicious undertaking. It is not a book for the faint of heart. It is a book that hopes to lay bare truth and stir its readers toward productive reflection and thoughtful action against the ever-present evil forces in our world. Sadly, it can offer no solution. (Understandably, not intended for readers under age 16)