This is a beautiful piece of historical fiction with great heart and humanity. "What kind of a girl steals the clothes from a dead man's back and runs off to join the army? A desperate one. That's who." At the end of the American Civil War, Charley - a young African-American slave from the deep south - is ostensibly freed. But then her adopted mother is raped and lynched at the hands of a mob and Charley is left alone. In a terrifyingly lawless land, where the colour of a person's skin can bring violent death, Charley disguises herself as a man and joins the army. Soon she's being sent to the prairies to fight a whole new war against the "savage Indians". Trapped in a world of injustice and inequality, it's only when Charley is posted to Apache territory that she begins to learn what it is to be truly free. It is written żeby the author of Mondays are Murder which won the 2010 Red House Children's Book Award and The Goldsmith's Daughter, which was nominated for the 2008 Guardian Children's fiction prize. Tanya Landman writes with great authority about this part of US history - her first novel on the subject, Apache, was nominated for the 2008 Carnegie Medal. As in Apache, Tanya Landman has an extraordinary ability to imagine what it's like to be one of society's outcasts.