Telling his story as a very old man, Cezanne Pinto begins with a morning early in his boyhood when his mother, who's been sold, is taken away: she ""sat with her back straight, her eyes meeting mine, as the wagon moved slowly out of the muddy yard..."" Bereft of his only kin, the boy is comforted by Tamar, the new cook, who -- years later, when he's 12 -- escapes with him to Canada on the Underground Railroad, educating him along the way. After serving briefly in a cavalry division at the end of the Civil War, the gifted young horseman goes to Texas with a white friend, Cal Trillo. In scenes rich with the pathos of brothers divided and reunited, Stolz conveys a powerful message about prejudice and war. Cezanne's empathy with the cattle he drives as a cowboy resonates -- as does his guileless gratitude at the kindness of strangers. His ""slave"" speech makes for difficult reading in the beginning, and the flashback format somewhat undermines suspense by allaying concern for his safety; still, an interesting tale, abundant in real detail.