Sorry we did not see this earlier, for we should have liked to put our enthusiasm behind it, well in advance. It is a strapping, vigorous book of frontier smashing in the Mississippi Territory, with the involvements of French, Spanish, British and American interests, with a husky, invincible colossus of a hero, Sam Dabney, who rises by wits, memory, ingenuity and sheer bulk, from being ""old man Dabney's brat"" to a figure of importance in the settling, trading and armed protection of the land. Sam, his sister Honaria, (a more venal Scarlett), his wife Donna, and his Indian companion form the nucleus of a more than life-size story, but the periphery is jammed with historical characters, Indians, renegades, pioneers, slaves and colorful incidental figures. Sam has many irons in the fire, he takes advantage of international complications to further his country's advance. Honaria makes money her yardstick and earns Sam's undying hatred. The Indian Tishimingo, fulfills his debt of hatred, and, with Sam, goes towards new horizons. A vigorous picture of a period (1795-1817), robust details of drinking, wenching and empire carving, the round of daily life, convincingly portrayed. We liked it.