A sequel to the pop-prolific author's The Proud and the Free (1994). Dailey's previous novel featured the forced march westward in 1838 by the highly civilized, politically sophisticated Cherokee Nation from Georgia to Oklahoma, and the wavering fortunes of two families through a peppering of feuds, feasts, faminesand romance. Now it's 1860, and the Gordon/Stuart families are rather comfortably settled; as before, they are owners of slavesone of whom will be a hero on his way to freedom. Here, the ``rugged and compelling'' Cherokee is Lije Stuart, a recent Harvard grad who meets again Diane Parmelee, daughter of an Army captain; as time passes, their passionate attraction is going to be tried, leashed, and unleashedright up to the last page. Lije is the son of those lovers of The Proud and the Free, Temple and ``The Blade,'' who also produced young Sorrell. Meantime, the Blade's sister Susannah is cutting the mustard with a ridin' Texas ranger, and their courting will punctuate the main actionthe Civil War and a boiling family feud that will lead to murder. Temple's brother Kipp and son, Alex, represent that sector of the Nation who blamed their leaders for selling out. Forced to choose sides, the ``neutral nation'' is divided in allegiances. Lije had seen his grandfather killed at the hands of assassins; now the Blade is in danger: ``My uncle [Kipp] would like to see my father dead. This war gives them license to kill...For many Cherokees [the] war...will become...an excuse to settle old scores.'' Throughout, there is the blast of open warfare in fields and plains, along with verbal birdshot and bombshells in the dining room. Finally, there's the inevitable interfamilial murder, betrayal (aided by innocent Sorrell), and lasting love. Dailey uses a real tributary of American history that she peoples with broadly noble (or despicable) chaps and ever-lovin' ladies. A reliable circulator.