This is a moving book, a story of a young man born into slavery. When the Civil War comes along and slaves are free, technically, the lords of the manors still feel they have the right to discipline any person of color who gets out of line. Their word for such behavior is uppity.
The story opens with this young man running from the KKK as his parents and two younger sisters are lynched. The title comes from a song comparing swinging, swollen bodies to strange fruit, but I only know that cause I'm pushing 60. We aren't told why the family 'deserved' this treatment for most of the book.
The boy escapes, gets into a minor skirmish that isn't his fault and escapes again. He seems to be an accomplished soldier on the frontier, but you can't escape racism. Strangely enough, our former slave seems to be one of the few people interested in making peace with indigenous people. The worst Lt. at the fort would rather kill every person of color he sees, even if they're wearing the same uniform as he is.
A bloodbath ensues. It gives him a head start on the revenge he had always planned to take on the klansmen who tied the nooses.
But now they know he's coming; he has to hide for a little while. While hiding, he falls in love. And she doesn't believe in revenge.
There's much more to the story than this. And you can tell I haven't explained all of it. There are more tears before there's any joy, but there's plenty of both before this story is told.
I only have one objection to this book. While Tee was on the frontier the author said counting coup was killing a man. No, Mr. Davis, it isn't.
Counting coup is considered the ultimate act of bravery. A warrior would touch his enemy. That's all. Usually the warrior would use a coup stick, more slender than even a drumstick. Touch your enemy and leave. Turn your back on an armed man and walk away. Do you see why counting coup requires more bravery than killing a man?