Part allegory, part horror tale, and part apocalyptic prediction, this novel is set in Alabama in the near future at a time when the Christian Soldiers are fighting the Rebels. All is seen through the eyes of a 14-year-old who makes up reasons to explain what he does not know or understand. Buddy, an orphan, lives in the woods with Sack, a scary costume he uses when he wants to make an impression on the cruel adult world. He rescues Cissy, another orphan, and together they face the forces of evil and betrayal. First novelist McNair portrays a brutal world in which children must cope with pain and hardship too awful to comprehend. The story leaves questions unanswered and many problems to be faced; it is an alternative way of looking at a reality dominated by a narrow concept of religion run rampant. This book has the potential to become a word-of-mouth best seller. For most fiction collections.