Mira, Feb 2004, 6.50, 384 pp.
In 1875 mix blooded Comanche Shanaco comes home to his tribe in Palo Doro Canyon, Texas because his grandfather Gray Wolf mentally tells him he needs him. Gray Wolf tells Shanaco to escort the tribe to the reservation by Fort Sill. The next morning Gray Wolf dies.
At Fort Sill, Shanaco and his men lay down their arms, but are incarcerated anyway. School teacher Maggie Bankhead protests, but is ignored. When the Indian Agent returns from DC, the tribe is released, but damage and mistrust between the two groups linger. When Shanaco and Maggie meet, they fall in love, but not long after, he is accused of rape by the Commander's daughter. Though a Virginia blueblood, Maggie is one of the few Anglos who believe that her beloved Shanaco is innocent as she knows he is too ethical to ever force himself on any woman. Even if he beats that rap, once he can, he plans to leave while she wants to stay to help the Indians adapt to an Anglo world.
Indian romance readers will appreciate this engaging tale of the tribes adjusting to life (or not) on the reservation. The story line is entertaining as fans obtain insight into the poor options left for the tribes to choose from. Though the subplot involving the Colonel's daughter adds suspense and suspicion it seems unnecessary; the last Comanche tribe and the Anglo soldiers are already at a vast divide that could easily turn hostile without much impetus on either side. Still this is a deep look at the changing western environs within a warm star-crossed romance.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner