A popular sentimental overview weakens this earnest dig into the crisis and personalities accompanying the decline of the American Indian during the westward expansion of white settlers. In Ride the Wind Robson based a lively heroic tale on the true story of a white child raised as a Comanche. Here she intercrosses the flamboyant career of Sam Houston with that of Tiana Rogers, child of a Scots trader and Cherokee mother, who witnesses the tragic break-up of the Cherokee in Georgia, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. Hell-raiser Sam Houston, bored with clerking at the family store in Tennessee, is overjoyed to be adopted (in 1809, when he's 16) by Tiana's uncle Drum, the Cherokee town's headman. When with the Real People, Sam is known as ""Raven,"" and he'll return again and again to the people he loves through years of wildly diverse adventures (from schoolteacher, actor and soldier in Jackson's army to Congressman and Governor of Tennessee). Sam's far-off adventures are riffled by like flash cards while Tiana is shown amid the day-to-day joys and miseries of her people: the ceremonies, daring rescues of friends from predators, and the murder of her husband and children by Osages. Eventually, she'll become a healer and spokeswoman, the ""Beloved Woman"" who'll die on the death trek to Oklahoma--the Trail of Tears. However, at the crux of the love between Tiana and Sam is their painful awareness of Sam's part in Indian/U.S. Government negotiations: did his early admiration for Jackson blind him to the evils of the westward expansion? Throughout there are lightly sketched but workable portraits of leaders, from the rawly jovial Jackson and charismatic Tecumseh to the decent, crafy diplomats in both camps. Unfortunately, Sam Houston is a busy blur and Tiana is an outsize saint. Gussied up with period slang and Indian phrases, and providing an oversimplified airing of Cherokee/Government confrontations. However, like Ride with the Wind, it is much meatier than most similar historical romantic adventures.