Tony Small is a real person
In a common struggle for freedom, one for blacks and one for Ireland, Tony Small and Lord Fitzgerald are more inseparable friends than master and servant for seventeen years before Lord Fitzgerald is captured and murdered by the British. Tony and his Irish wife Julie continue their devotion to Lord Edward's widow Pamela after she flees to Belgium. The Smalls move to London where Tony dies around 1804.
By bringing to light the story of remarkable figures in eighteenth-century American, Irish, Canadian, English, and French history, the book is unequaled as a record of mutual respect and devotion between two men that begins on the level battle ground at Eutaw Springs. It also creates an account of African Americans not as mere slaves or free black men and women who do manual labor, but as soldiers and patriots of the highest order to help establish the new republic.
Tony Small is a real person, the main character in the book. Everyone else when named in the book is also a real person, and most are black. The book records the names of over two hundred documented African Americans who may have participated in the battles and creates a fictional narrative for many of them. They have names in place and time and play dramatic roles as real people other than as historically nameless “Negroes.”