Philip Ferguson is born in China to sixteen-year-old Jerusha Stuart who trades her life for her child's. Raised, by a missionary family, the year Philip turns thirteen Japan invades Nanjing (1937). To protect his adopted family, Philip sets out to obtain weapons outside the safe zone. Japanese soldiers seize Philip and his life hangs in the balance until Soviet pilots rescue him. Taken to Moscow, Philip is raised under Soviet control and is eventually sent  to America for education and to fulfill Soviet purposes. 

Current day Washington Spring residents threaten to file suit and demand refund of their million-dollar investments to protest the delay of Willow Home's construction. Rather than let the community fall into ruin, to move the process forward, John Martin chooses to grease the wheels of state government. However, he and the newest resident of Washington Spring learn more than they wanted about the land on which they are living and the means by which it was acquired. 


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Excerpt from Grounds for Discovery

"So how can I help you, John?" Derek leaned forward in his black leather office chair. John sat in a straight chair at some distance from the younger man's desk. John felt the wound of being the senior of the two and also the more experienced. It humbled him to be on this side of the desk. 

"I'm having trouble getting approval for Willow Home, our Phase Two care facility. We're being designated a nursing home, which means the facility will be held to commercial operating standards when our maximum capacity is eight beds. We have to seek an exemption from being regulated this way. And the exemption needs to come from the state, not the county, because it's the Maryland Department of Health who is in charge of licensing. But they are not budging." 

"Sounds like you have to make your case at the state congressional level." 

John thought of how he used to know everyone in Annapolis. Now he couldn't keep track of all the committees and their members. 

"Who do you know on the newly reorganized Government Operations and Long-Term Care subcommittee?" John asked. 

"Finnegan Ferguson heads that subcommittee. Do you know him?" John shook his head. "Finn and I have been to functions together. His father and mine go way back. Maybe you know Finn's father, Rex Ferguson?" 

"Ah. I should have realized. Is Judge Ferguson still Chief Justice for the State Supreme Court?" Derek nodded. "And Finn would like to follow in his father's footsteps, I'm sure." 

John was about to say like father, like son, since he, himself had followed his father into banking and land development. 

"Tell you what. My wife and I are hosting a fourth of July barbeque. I could add you and Finn to the invitation list and see to the two of you being introduced." 

"I would appreciate it." The younger man held the door as John departed with a handshake. 

In the elevator John grumbled knowing he was at the mercy of younger players. In earlier times he had been the arranger of introductions. He knew where and how to apply the proper pressure. Now, he was fumbling. So much of his life was off kilter. Pauline wasn't supposed to die. They should have been enjoying the small community they had conceived, where people could count on one another, where worry of growing old and infirm was small since here at Washington Spring you were guaranteed to be looked after by a committed group of neighbors. Yet, he was anything but free of worry. If he couldn't get Willow Home built, and soon, it would be his personal failure and could rupture the entire Washington Spring community. Time was ticking, and he could feel it running out.

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