It's 1865. Near the end of the Civil War, twelve-year-old Cassie Willis learns that her brother Jacob has been killed while fighting in the Confederate army. Torn by grief, she runs to the secret thicket in the piney woods that she and Jacob loved -- and stumbles smack into the hideout of a crazed deserter. Cassie escapes, but she can't forget the deserter's threats .. . or shake the feeling that someone is watching her. Is the deserter spying on her family from the woods, planning to steal from them -- or worse?