With the War of 1812, men from of Anne's extended family serve in the militia, in support of the British Regular regiments. A bloody conflict ensues to defend the fledgling Upper Canada. Farms and homesteads in the Niagara frontier are devastated repeatedly.
At Harvard College, Samuel Clifford is exposed to revolutionary foment, against his Loyalist parents' convictions. The day before he leaves home for his second year, he is terrified by a hideous vision. He joins Washington's army. What he discovers convinces him to desert. He makes his way to British-held New York. After the revolution, he rejoins his family at Lundy's Lane. He becomes that settlement's school teacher.
Samuel finds himself drawn into the horror of an American civil war. He deplores the wanton slaughter, with cousin killing cousin. He sees himself still American, born and raised, yet he cannot return. Christmas in 1814: he experiences another vision, that of a red dawn, with what it portends.