The events of the Anglo-Cherokee War in 1759-60 in South Carolina are brought vividly to modern readers in a meticulously researched tale.
Seventeen-year-old Catriona suffers grievous losses when her parents and brother are murdered by fellow settlers in a raid meant to look like an attack by Cherokee warriors. She is determined not only to escape to a British fort, but to somehow bring the murderers to justice. Traversing unforgiving terrain through Cherokee territory, she is severely wounded and her younger brother killed when they are attacked by a catamount. She is rescued and cared for by Malcolm Craig, who is in hiding for reasons of his own. Eventually, they reach the fort only to find more horrific troubles and deaths. A final meeting with her enemy ends in vengeance if not justice. The plot is dense and filled with violence and unremitting pain. Catie is not a perfect heroine; she doubts her decisions and believes that, like the last of the three Fates of Greek myth, she is the instrument of death. The author has wisely chosen to forgo the use of Colonial-era dialect, but all the elements of the tale are perfectly in keeping with the setting and time.
Patient and sophisticated readers will find the story compelling and deeply moving and its heroine unforgettable. (author’s note, sources) (Historical fiction. 15-18)