Arizona, 1940. United States Marshall J.D. Fitzpatrick battles Japanese Imperial Army Captain Kozo Sasaki for the political loyalty of the Papago Indians--with predictable results. Relations between the federal government and aging Papago leader' Jujul have already been strained by short-tempered Edward Larson's pigheaded tactics in getting the Papago registered for the draft. When Jujul runs him off the reservation, Larson files suit against the elder and calls for reinforcements. Enter idealistic, haunted Fitzpatrick, a veteran of the civil war in Spain, sent not to help Larson but to mollify the Papago. J.D.'s search for information about the Papago leads him to philandering Larry Spencer and his anthropology-student wife Mary, and romance seems imminent. But Mary leaves suddenly on an invitation to join the tribe as part of her fieldwork; and before J.D. can track her down, she's been snatched from within the tribe by Sasaki and a dozen Papago rebels planning to fight the white man by joining forces with a Japanese submarine off the Mexican coast. J.D., Jujul, and Larry then set off in the world's slowest pursuit--pages and pages of flashbacks insuring that we know exactly why the principals all feel as they do about each parsimonious plot twist--until a bloody finale leaves Sasaki dead, Jujul in prison (he'll be killed too in a downbeat coda), Mary back in Larry's arms, and J.D. victorious but depressed. A fact-based first novel stronger on Indian lore than suspense.