John Harkless comes to the fictional town of Plattville, Indiana, almost on a whim. Without any better idea of what to do with his life, he purchases the small weekly Carlow County Herald and assumes the duties of Editor in Chief… and there are not many Indians to command. He soon builds the paper into a respectable trice-weekly, however, and begins the story as a Hero-Already-Made. His paper his been the driving force in exposing political corruption and the shenanigans of the local White Caps, racist ruffians who are none other than what we would call the KKK today.

Crusaders are never popular, though, and a diabolical plot of revenge is set in motion… and everyone seems to know it, from Harkless himself to the children of Six-Cross-Roads (attributed as the base of the White Caps’ operations), from the mayor to the bellringer, from Harkless’ staff to mountebanks… and the new gal in town, with whom Harkless seems to share some kind of past experience in the East.

It’s political season, too, and the Herald is attempting to throw its influence into getting the right man elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. Harkless not only has hands full with violence and romance, he’s in the thick of political intrigue, too… replete, as we might expect, with hush-hush back-room deals and blackmail.

It’s almost a forgone conclusion, given that Harkless starts the story off as a hero, that things will come to a violent pass. The tension arises from these questions: How will Harkless come to harm? What will he do to survive? Who is Helen Sherwood? What past does she share with Harkless? Who will get elected to Congress?

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