Devon School, an exclusive prep school for boys in New Hampshire, is a world unto itself. But it's the summer of 1942 and the massive thundercloud of World War II threatens the school's peaceful environment. Paralleling the war, where enemies real and imagined are sometimes collaborated with and sometimes destroyed, is the friendship between Gene and Phineas, two students attending the 1942 summer session at Devon. Their idyllic world begins to fall apart as the war escalates, and suspicion and the complexities of adolescence result in violence and betrayal. A Separate Peace has become a modern classic.