"William Clarke Quantrill was hated during the War Between the States by the Federals of the Union Army and by many non-combatants in the places he pillaged. Even the high command of the Confederacy distrusted him. But there were others who were passionate sympathizers. He was both friend and mentor, but also manipulator and opportunist. Alistair Durant was someone who came to know him in all these guises. Durant was a young Confederate soldier, captured by the Yankees after the Battle of Wilson's Creek and released from custody when he took an oath never again to bear arms against the Union. On his two-hundred-mile trek back to his home in Missouri, Alistair meets Beans Kimbrough. Bean's experience in the war has been different. He didn't fire his musket at any blue belly, but at his no-account sergeant. Now, like Alistair, he is no longer in the army and has no choice but to wander. The two become friends on the way to Clay County, where Beans introduces Alistair to a man calling himself Charley Hart. Hart has a plan to organize a militia to bring the war to civilians by looting, burning, and killing--a last-ditch strategy that might possibly help the South to achieve final victory" --Dust jacket flap.