This is Nixon’s second book that chronicles the adventures of six Irish-American siblings who have been sent from the slums of New York City to new homes on the Frontier in the years just prior to the Civil War. This book stands on its own, so it is not necessary to have read the first book in the series.
The focus here is on 11-year-old Mike Kelley, who is placed with a German immigrant farmer more interested in acquiring cheap labor than a new family member. When Mike overhears Friedrich and his kind-hearted wife discussing their fear of retribution over a man’s death, he suspects foul play. The imaginative youngster’s suspicions are aggravated when his best friend Reuben, an educated farmhand, disappears after a loud altercation with the overseer. The puzzle is believably pieced together as the motivations of father and son are revealed at story’s end.