Shadow of an Indian Startracks three generations of a Chickasaw Indian tribe, based on the legends of a family in court and Chickasaw records. A sixteen-year-old who runs away from home embarks on a perilous journey that forces him to confront racism in the nineteenth century as Smith Paul fights his way through the wilderness and finally creates his own settlement where all will be treated equally. If only Smith Paulís valley could spring from the pages and morph into reality - how much better the world would be.
Smith Paul comes alive with the description of his forbidden love for Ala-Teecha - the wife of the Reverend McClure, who actually took him in and gave him a home and a family. The moral dilemmas the couple face are so convincing that readers can feel their anguish over being kept apart by honor as much as by proper behavior. The animosity that Ala-Teecha hides behind to keep from letting her feelings show for Smith is instantly recognizable to anyone who has ever felt a forbidden attraction to another. At the moment of Smithís departure, she finally lets her guard down enough for him to know that his amorous feelings are returned but cannot be fulfilled, making readers hope for a way out of the hopeless situation for them.
With frightening ferocity, the challenges of frontier life become apparent when hide traders hunt down and kill Smithís black friend, Burkett, just because he is traveling and working as a partner with a white man. Smithís son, Sam, runs with interesting company, including a former sidekick of Billy the Kid who ultimately lands him in jail on a murder charge. In a twist worthy of Jerry Springer, Samís son, Joe, takes away the love of his life.
The plotís taut moments of tension is contrasted by tenderness in unexpected places, making Shadow of an Indian Star a quick, engrossing read. Any book that keeps you wondering after you finish it is a book well-written.