The Americans had stunned the world by winning their independence from the mightiest military power on earth and creating a startling new constitution that vested ultimate power in the common man. No one had anticipated that, by the 1790s, the giants of the world--England, France, Spain, and Russia--would again be caught up in war, with the United States trapped in the middle. British Canada to the north, hostile American Indians to the west, Spain and pirates to the south, and British ships in the Atlantic all loomed menacingly on the new country's horizon. Too soon, the Americans had to stand and fight or accept the role of a weakling in the family of nations. When President James Madison declared war against England in June 1812, the British had 600 warships and over 200,000 men in uniform, while America had 16 warships and only 12,000 men at arms. This historical novel reads like a modern David and Goliath story.