Garrett Benteen, self-created baron of a Vermont village, will not abide destruction of the land around him. The buzz of the chainsaw, the felling of trees, the raising of flimsy spec houses warrant more than mere headshaking--to Benteen they are calls to battle. Using his wealth and the sheer force of his personality, he manipulates friends and neighbors to sustain his vision of what the town has been and what he believes it must continue to be. Even at his most magnanimous, as when dispensing money for college educations, employing those in need of work, or providing wood for an elderly invalid, Benteen is intent on control, and arrogant in his conviction that he knows best. His beneficiaries seethe with resentment, and it is this interplay, the tension between this man of wealth and power and those he would control, that shapes this first novel by seasoned writer Castle Freeman Jr.