In discovering a grandfather she didn't know she had, a 14-year-old also finds a new, earth-oriented way of life. After her mother's sudden death, Kate is faced with living with an aunt and taking care of her brats; instead, learning that her long-dead father's father is alive, she runs away and finds him in an obscure cabin in the Blue Ridge Mountains; to her surprise, he's a Cherokee. Though at first ""Tsan"" rejects Kate, her stubborn insistence and aid win him over. Together, the two raise an eaglet abandoned by poachers, and eventually come to grips with the poachers themselves in an all-out duel--melodramatic but believably written. Tsan's teachings and sensitivity enrich Kate, while she helps the old man open up about the son he repudiated. An intelligent German shepherd is as strong a character as either of the humans, and the three bond into a lasting family. Kate is eminently winning: stubborn, abrasive, yet determined to learn and to survive where it isn't important to know how to program a VCR. Her grandfather says she's like flint: ""When struck, you don't break. You give sparks."" A rousing adventure that's a good introduction to contemporary Native American culture and a remarkable first novel by someone who knows Cherokee life. Glossary of Cherokee words and phrases.