Irving reprises the picaresque role of Rick Putnam, a motorcycle-riding courier and war-hardened Vietnam veteran. Set in 1973, the story centers on the Wounded Knee debacle in South Dakota, in which members of the American Indian Movement seized and occupied a small town within the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. In this fictional version, the activists, surrounded and beleaguered by U.S. law enforcement, are increasingly threatened with the possibility of a final, deadly raid that ends the standoff once and for all.
Rick joins his Native American friend Eve [Buffalo Calf] in an attempt to sneak badly needed supplies past the blockade surrounding the town. The area is crackling with violence, riddled with various tribal factions all deeply territorial, suspicious of outsiders, and accustomed to spontaneous bouts of violence. Rick, troubled by the political intrigue he encountered (and barely survived) in the previous novel, uncovers yet more subterfuge regarding the collusion of the federal government with corrupt officials within the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
What follows is an action-packed adventure that incudes nefarious government forces, intramural tribal conflict, and motorcycle gangs. Rick remains the constant through the two volumes: he's still a chain-smoking, wisecracking tough guy haunted by memories of service in Vietnam....
A brisk, suspenseful adventure nestled in real, historical drama
From the Author
"A machine gun round tore past. Rick Putnam felt the hair on the top of his head suddenly rise up, and in the split-second before he heard the whining thwup of the bullet, he'd already begun his dive to the ground."
Every night, motorcyclecourier Rick Putnam battles the phantom gunfire that is the price of hisservice in Vietnam but this is definitely not a dream. Rick and his girlfriend,Eve Buffalo Calf, have spent the winter hiding out from the assassins whopursued them across Washington DC to cover up an act of High Treason. Now, feelingsafe, they are headed back home but first, a quick stop to backpackdesperately-needed food in to Eve's legal clients, the American Indianactivists under fire in the small town of Wounded Knee.
Afellow veteran sacrifices himself so that they can escape the bloodshed andbetrayal that mark the end of this desperate act of resistance and fulfilling hisfinal request results in a motorcycle sprint through the Black Hills with a secretivecult out to kill them at every turn.
Ricklearns that the cult is based in Washington DC and so, with the help of their computerhacker housemates, Eve and Rick fight back against this "new crusade"--actuallya scam that brainwashes and brutalizes its young converts. In the final battle,Rick must stop the cult leaders from destroying both the sacred lands of theNative Americans and the very souls of the young children in their charge.