This book is the reminiscence of a 90 year old man looking back on a remarkable life: he was a white chief of the Cherokee, a senator, and a corporal in the Civil War. (The main character is fashioned after an actual person: William Holland Thomas.) We like this somewhat flawed but admirable self-made man, and we we appreciate his loyalty to the tribe that adopted him when he was twelve. We feel his heart-strings strum over Claire, the love of his life. This main character is complex and accomplished, earnest and self-effacing; he is both a winner and a defeated man. The reader becomes a better person for knowing him and walking in his footprints.
This is a slow, meandering treat of a novel, delivered in beautifully lush, poetic prose. Correct facts are fleshed out with believable, almost palpitating fiction which makes the reader step right into that space and time. We feel like we were actually there during the Cherokee Removal, or watching him ache for that love. This author is a master storyteller. Maybe I’m partial to Native Americans, the wilderness and lost causes, but I give this quiet eulogy five stars. I’m glad I read it.