In simple, darkly faceted stories, Philander Deming writes as a person whose childhood knowledge of the Adirondacks has been honed to a fine sense for its potential human tragedy. In this, the first collection of his best work, a haunting vision of the Adirondacks comes through that is hard to forget. Deming's themes revolve around deception and self-deception, loneliness, and good intentions gone awry. Most of his stories occur just before or after the Civil War. In almost every story, however, Deming shows his characters looking back towards the mountains, from the Mohawk or St. Lawrence Valley or from lonely settlements on the edge of the forest, or across Lake Champlain.