"My name is Jonathan Edward Ambrose.... I am eleven-years-old, nearly twelve, and very astute for my age-to my notion. I'm confined to a wood and metal contraption called a wheelchair."
The year is 1910. Jonathan dream leaps to events of the Second Battle of Newtonia in southern Missouri occurring October 28, 1864. His dreams appear vivid realities in which Aurelia Sutton, a young woman who died during childbirth-that same fateful day-appears to him. She passed in the same bedroom Jonathan now occupies nearly a half-century later.
Aurelia becomes the angelic mediator assisting Jonathan to cope with his brother's deteriorating brain injury.
Jonathan, in turn, becomes his brother's hope. Young Jonathan also believes in his own healing. Maybe he will not only walk and run-maybe he will fly.
"The aeroplane [Golden Flier] has arrived! It has yet to feel the sky beneath its wings."
-the arrival of a 1910 Curtiss aeroplane to the Ambrose farm.
Jonathan considers mercy to be raining not only on his family, but, considering events, the entire 320 acres of the family farm.
"I have not been entirely candid; mind you, it is not some great breach of literary ethics."