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In 1964, 17-year-old Billy Byer is a newcomer to Oleander, a Gulf Coast Florida town whose old guard define American football as the ancient Spartans did their Agoge. It is a mode of brutal tutelage that forges the hearts and minds of the town's elite youth for a future of power. Through the brutal and fiery days of summer practice, Billy fights for a place on the team, the Spartans. He makes the team but rebels in a horrific hazing scene. When powerful men realise they cant win without him, one of them offers him a Faustian bargain.
Sterling Watson is the author of five novels, including The Calling, Sweet Dream Baby, and Weep No More My Brother, which was nominated for the Rosenthal Award given annually by the National Academy Institute of Arts and Letters. His short fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Prairie Schooner, the Georgia Review, the Los Angeles Times Book Review, the Michigan Quarterly Review, and the Southern Review. He is director of the Creative Writing Program at Eckerd College and holder of the Peter Meinke Chair in Literature and Creative Writing.