Gear, W. Michael
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During the winter of 1825, Richard Hamilton - a timid Harvard philosophy student - arrives in St. Louis on business for his father. Robbed and beaten, desperate to save his life, he reluctantly joins the crew of the Maria, a fur trader's keelboat. Bound for the beautiful, wild, and dangerous Indian country of the Upper Yellowstone River, the native Bostonian begins the education and adventure of a lifetime.
On a converging path is Packrat, a Pawnee warrior who captures a beautiful young Shoshone medicine woman named Heals Like a Willow. But slaves with ties to the spirit world can - and do - fight back.
As the Maria struggles deeper into the wilderness, Richard and Willow are cast together: seekers of knowledge and spirit, unwitting adversaries separated by time, space, and birthright. As inevitable as the collision of their two worlds, their love begins to unfold - and with it the terrible consequences of a forbidden consummation.