An autobiographical novel of the Great War's aftermath, Plumes is the story of the personal trials of a soldier, returned from the front disabled and disillusioned, and of the wife and child he left behind. Like his creator, Laurence Stallings, Richard Plume is a U.S. Marine whose combat injuries ultimately cost him a leg and much faith in his government and society. Carefully structured to emphasize the immediacy of problems faced by its players, the novel relegates combat scenes to flashbacks and centers instead on the struggles Richard faces as he tries to carve out a humble but honest existence in postwar Washington, D.C., for his wife, Esme, and son, Dickie. As he struggles to understand the external and internal causes that made him a victim, he turns to his heritage. Patriotic Plumes men fought in every American conflict from Valley Forge onward, and while all returned with wounds and woes, none ever doubted that battlefield glory was worth the price-none until Richard, who yearns to spare Dickie from the fate of his forebears.