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In the deceiving warmth of earliest October, civil war has come to Green Town, Illinois, an age-old conflict pitting the young against the elderly for control of the clock that ticks their lives ever forward. The graying forces of school board despot Mr. Calvin C. Quartermain have declared total war on thirteen-year-old Douglas Spaulding and his downy-cheeked cohorts. The boys, in turn, plan and execute daring campaigns, matching old Quartermain's experience and cunning with their youthful enthusiasm and devil-may-care determination to hold on forever to childhood's summer. Yet time must ultimately be the victor, as life waits in ambush to assail young Spaulding with its powerful mysteries—the irresistible ascent of manhood, the sweet surrender of a first kiss . . .