Winner of the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2015, this is a beautiful piece of historical fiction told with 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.