THIN MOON AND COLD MIST by Kathleen O'Neal Gear


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Veteran historical novelist Gear (Sand in the Wind, 1993, etc.) again uses an accurate rendering of the North American past as a backdrop for some vigorous fictional heroics, this time involving a beautiful Confederate spy of skill and courageous cool. As the story opens in May 1864, half-Cherokee Robin Walkingstick Heatherton, disguised as a black boy, observes the horror of the Battle of the Wilderness in Virginia. Returning to Richmond, hoping to spend Christmas with her five-year-old son, Jeremy, Robin reports to President Jefferson Davis that she has retrieved secret letters from England, taken from the body of another female Confederate spy who drowned in her eagerness to reach land from a stormy sea. Davis warns her of a deranged Yankee officer, Thomas Corley, who blames Robin for the death of his brother and swears he will hunt her down. The Confederate president sends Robin to Tennessee to join her husband, cavalry officer Charles, but the two have only one night together before he is shot by a Northern firing squad. Robin escapes and returns to Richmond for Jeremy. On to March 1865: Aboard a river boat, Robin, using one of her many aliases, wins a claim to a gold mine in Colorado while playing poker. But tough loner Garrison Parker has put in his claim for the same mine, and before black and white hats have it out in the town of Central City, Colorado, Robin will suffer a broken rib, team up with a good woman to care for Jeremy, and discover unexpected love and kindness. All ends with her last-minute escape--just when she's within an ace of cashing in her Wonder Woman chips. A heroine's tale with wide, breathless fictional strides. (This first in a projected ""Women's West"" series may appeal to YA as much as adult readers.)

Pub Date: July 1st, 1995
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Forge/Tor