Synopsis of the novel “Three-Eyed Man” The time span in the work covers the years 1838 to 1861 and is set in the pre, and early, civil war United States. The anti-hero, Eliphalet Robinson, is an ambitious boy who sets out in life to make his fortune. After the death of his fisherman/farmer father he is apprenticed to a cousin in the shipping business who goes into bankruptcy. Eliphalet then becomes a highly paid clerk in the employ of a cotton mill owner whose daughter he courts and is rejected by. After the rejection he removes to the Pittsburgh area where he has contacts with a jobber and broker with whom he has developed a sideline of transporting wire nails to the Boston area. Disappointed in his efforts to become a shipping broker, he is befriended by a black former slave and his family and associates. With their help he becomes first a pack peddler, then an itinerant merchant, and general storekeeper. In the process he marries and is widowed, founds a town and acquires his first fortune. During the course of this part of his life he feels pressure to join the fight against slavery, but is motivated more by greed and ambition than any other consideration. During the panic of 1857, he and his mentor’s family and their associates form a syndicate whose function is to buy bankrupt stocks of manufactured goods, store, and sell them in areas less affected by the economic downturn. The course of these operations leads Eliphalet, now his association’s field representative, to be in New Orleans immediately after John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry. Tempers are high even as standards of public hygiene are low. Eliphalet falls under suspicion as a “Yankee” abolitionist and, despite success in selling his stocks, feels pressured to get out of New Orleans. In an effort to get some relief from the tension, he retreats across the main drainage canal to a place that will, thirty years later, become notorious as Storeyville, an area of vice and prostitution. There he kills a man in a fight over a prostitute and flees what he believes is certain punishment. The instrument of Eliphalet’s flight is a sailing brig loaded to the point of bursting with cotton and crewed by escaped slaves who, like himself, are in flight, they from re-enslavement and he from prosecution for his crime. After an adventurous escape, Eliphalet returns to selling his bankrupt stocks along the rivers of the interior United States. The outbreak of the Civil War finds him in St. Louis. There he becomes a supporter of the influential Blair family in their efforts to keep Missouri in the Union. Believing that supplying their efforts will be lucrative, he joins a militia being formed by Nathaniel Lyon and Francis P. Blair becoming a supply officer. He is killed in the battle of Wilson Creek in August of 1861.