It is 1800, and the ideals and promises of the newborn United States are being tested in actual practice. In Boston, the Federalists are jailing those who speak out against them. In the West Indies, French privateers are avenging a broken treaty by capturing American merchant vessels which French courts are condemning and allowing to be sold. In France, Bonaparte is planning the reconquest of Haiti as the base for an attack on continental America. In the Mediterranean, the Barbary States, Tripoli in particular, are blackmailing the United States and seizing American ships.
These are 'the heroic years' when Albion Hamlin comes from Maine to Boston to defend a client who has run afoul of the notorious Alien and Sedition Acts. Before he knows quite what has happened to him Albion has lost a case, delivered a ringing oration on liberty in the teeth of illiberal Justice Chase of the Supreme Court, and been jailed for his pains. And he has fallen in love -- with the Gilbert Stuart portrait of his client's lovely niece, Lydia Bailey, reported dead of yellow fever in Haiti. Albion's escape from prison with the help of old Samuel Adams is but the beginning of the adventures which carry him to Haiti in search of Lydia, and to France and Tripoli, where, with Lydia, he participates in events which, though both shameful and triumphant, taught the world that the United States was a world power at last.
Author: Kenneth Roberts
Title: Lydia Bailey
First Published by: Doubleday Doran