Canden is one of the members of the rebel group "The Free Holanders" whose efforts to foment rebellion are not really that successful. They are seeking to overthrow the tyrannical Earl Hadd and his family, who are constantly raising rents and taxes and squeezing the poor of the county of Holand to a breaking point.
Canden's older brother, Hobin the gunsmith, thinks they are all crazy even to try. He thinks very little of the other members of the group, including Al and later his son Mitt, but becomes fond of Al's wife Milda.
Eventually the Free Holanders try to break into one of the Earl's warehouses as an act of rebellion, and are betrayed. Canden himself is killed in the effort, and Al disappears afterwards.