Rousing historical fantasy from the author of the Nebula- winning The Falling Woman (1986), etc. In the 1830s, Dmitri and Marietta Rybak and their daughter Nadya carve out a farmstead in the wilds of Missouri. Dmitri teaches Nadya to shoot and ride man- style, but the family's chief oddity is that they're werewolves. Adolescent Nadya finds herself strongly attracted to a hunky neighbor, Rufus Jones, but one night Rufus and the other settlers, stirred up by whiskey and a mad preacher, insist on going to hunt wolves--the very night when Nadya and her parents undergo their transformation. Crack shot Rufus kills both Nadya's parents, while Nadya barely escapes. In the morning, once again in human shape, Nadya takes her gun, shoots Rufus dead, hacks off her hair, dresses like a man, and heads west. She helps Elizabeth Metcalf, abandoned by her companions while her father lay dying of fever, and young orphan Jenny make the terrible crossing of prairie, desert, and mountains into California. But here Nadya and Elizabeth, now lovers, must part: Elizabeth can't leave civilization again, while Nadya can't bear to remain. Finally, weakly, Nadya wanders north into Oregon, where she meets a half-Indian member of the wolf fraternity who can accept her for what she is. Overextended but intense and gripping, with lots of authentic background detail.