A naïve pastor falls under the spell of a sophisticated circle of friends in this gripping tale of an ambitious young man's disillusionment. Upon his move to a small town in New York State's Adirondack Mountains, Theron Ware encounters disturbing new ideas in the company of a Catholic priest, an atheist physician, and a seductive aesthete. Ware's new companions and their worldly views raise troubling questions that lead him to reexamine his commitment to Methodism and his vocation, as well as his faith in God. Author Harold Frederic, an internationally renowned correspondent for The New York Times, situated his 1896 novel in a fictional community modeled on his hometown of Utica, New York. Frederic's subtle study of moral disintegration offers a revelatory look at small-town life at the close of the nineteenth century. In addition to its timeless and thought-provoking portrait of self-delusion and moral decay, this unjustly neglected classic of American literature offers insights into the religious, scientific, philosophical, and sexual anxieties surrounding the transition to the modern age.