The great expanse of America in the early part of the 19th century is backdrop to a tale of pioneer morality; those unused to ""historical fiction"" will find here a story that moves and captivates. It also challenges conventional notions of barbarism and civilization. Young Ely, searching for his missing brother, comes across what appears to be a vicious murder outside the tent of a half-French, half-Shawnee woman named Rain Hawk. Ely and a local lawyer begin a lengthy pursuit of the prime suspect, a giant whose footprint is twice as large as Ely's own. In the course of the journey, the lawyer and the frontiersman come to respect each other's learning and talents, and, to their surprise, the character and dignity of the murderer himself. More than an adventure story--although very sucessfully that--this is a forceful rendering of the notions of justice in an outsize land. The writing is facile, vivid, quick, poetic. Readers should find the dramatic tension to their liking, the story itself thought-provoking.