Ty Hale, a young corporal from Lovington, New Mexico, finds himself alone in the middle of a grain field in Normandy after being knocked unconscious by the explosion of a German artillery shell. Stunned from the explosion and overwhelmed by visions of the grandfather who raised him and the simple life of the New Mexico prairie he has left behind, Ty attempts to rejoin his unit but instead stumbles onto a country estate and inextricably into the lives of its inhabitants. Philippe Gaston, a former music teacher, his stunningly beautiful daughter RenA(c)e, and Hans Heinike, a German deserter and an accomplished musician, are attempting to carve out a normal existence in spite of the chaos and destruction that surrounds them. As Philippe devotes his time to his German protA(c)gA(c), Ty and RenA(c)e fall in love and Ty learns of the Gaston estate's unique legacy of survival and the most recent story of violence and sacrifice that has preserved this pristine oasis in the midst of a raging war.
The music that permeates their solitary existence, whether it be the buzzing and chattering of insects and birds, a violin and human voice joined in concert, or the fire of machine guns and the distant rumble of tanks, draws these unlikely comrades together and reveals the common humanity that resides in us all. The war, the music, the love, and the rhythms of nature are all timeless and eternal.
Max Evans, novelist, artist, scriptwriter, former cowboy, miner, and dealer in antiquities, resides in Albuquerque. He received the Owen Wister Award for lifelong contributions to the field of western literature from the Western Writers of America.