In Gilbert Morris’s Edge of Honor, the protagonist, Quentin Laribee, a physician in his late twenties, practices surgery in New York City during the 1860’s. Quentin’s peers admire his medical skills. Colleague Les Simmons envies Quentin’s personal life and complains to friends that Quentin is unworthy of being engaged to Irene Chambers, whose father, Dr. Oscar Chambers, has designated Quentin as his successor to his flourishing New York City practice.
Quentin lives with his younger sister, Hannah, who is permanently lame because of an injury. After their parents died when they were teenagers, Quentin and Hannah raised their younger siblings. Because they endured many struggles and deprivations together, Quentin and Hannah loyally nurture each other. A pious woman, Hannah frequently reads her Bible and consults the Reverend Horace Pettigrew for spiritual advice. She dislikes Quentin’s fiancé, whom she considers a frivolous, manipulative woman who does not love Quentin but craves the affluent lifestyle and societal position he will assure her.
Unimpressed by wealth, Quentin does not comprehend why Irene wants him to wear fancier clothes, buy an expensive house, and dine with the elite of New York City. He prefers to devote his time to helping people who need medical assistance regardless of their financial status. Conscientious regarding his profession, Quentin dislikes other physicians’ aloofness to their patients, incompetence, and greed.
Quentin enlists in the Seventh New York Infantry during the American Civil War. Assigned to hospital duties, he befriends orderly Jim Peters, a former cook who tells Quentin about his plan to earn money raising pheasants and rabbits to sell to steamboat companies after the war. Quentin confides to Hannah that he believes God helps him, relating how he prayed during a soldier’s surgery, saving the man from an injury that other surgeons thought would be mortal.
After leaving the safety of New York for Fort Stedman at Richmond, Virginia, Quentin finds himself in the midst of combat when enemy troops attack. Half-blinded by dirt raised by an exploding shell, Quentin sees a Confederate soldier approaching and fatally shoots...
(The entire section is 909 words.)