How much guilt can a man endure? How much depravity can a man display? These questions are examined in the fresh new novel, The Darkness at Dawn, set in early New England. When 13-year-old John Lee sees 19-year-old Richard Hawkes, already a petty thief and murderer, steal his Puritan church’s gold inlaid chalice during a storm in the middle of the Atlantic on their congregation’s journey to Boston, he has no idea that it would be followed by a 40 year conflict between them. Sworn to secrecy by Richard, John’s guilt grows over the years as he watches Richard commit vile acts in his effort to increase his power and wealth. Meanwhile, John becomes a soldier, scout, civic leader, and Indian teacher. All the while, his guilt over his oath grows as he blames himself for unleashing Richard's evil upon his community. At the same time, he believes breaking his oath would be a great sin. Finally, when Richard’s crimes are too great to ignore, John, a former constable, is asked by the Governor to prosecute Richard for them. In an incredible act of hubris, Richard calls John as a character witness at trial. Confronted with a question he cannot answer without violating either his oath to God or his oath to the Court, he remembers his most spiritual Indian student’s statement of how he resolved his conflict between his belief in God and his loyalty to his tribe, and John finds a way to answer.