An Uncommon Enemy by Michelle Black

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“There is no word in the Cheyenne language for forgiveness.”

On the day after Thanksgiving, 1868, George Armstrong Custer and the Seventh Cavalry attack a sleeping Cheyenne village on the banks of the Washita. Ironically, it later becomes known that the village attacked was that of Black Kettle, the foremost peace chief of the Cheyenne Nation. Amidst the heartless and senseless slaughter of men, women, and children, the Seventh Cavalry discovers a white woman living among the Cheyenne. Her name is Eden Murdoch, and she was presumed dead years before. While the army expects to use her for propaganda purposes and to refute the accusations that the Cheyenne village posed no threat to white settlers, Eden refuses to take part in any such propaganda: to acknowledge that the army “rescued” her from a “savage” society. Eden avoids giving the details of her story to any of the officers; she will say only that she considered her Cheyenne husband and his other wives family.

Custer’s young and inexperienced aide-de-camp, Captain Brad Randall, is assigned the task of looking after Eden and locating her family. Beginning to doubt Custer’s actions and struggling to act honorably, Brad is both fascinated and perplexed by Eden’s eccentric behavior. He becomes obsessed with learning the truth behind Eden’s bizarre journey, and when Eden begins to reveal it to him, his own future changes. Eden and Brad unexpectedly set in motion events that will echo all the way to the Little Bighorn.


"Strong characters, smart narration and a fast-moving plot distinguish this latest historical novel by Black. [Her] take on Custer's cruel command is nuanced and well researched, her story of his encounter with Eden based on a cryptic remark Custer made in his field notes the day after Washita. Eden's...plucky humor makes her an appealing protagonist." - Publishers Weekly

"Michelle Black has penned a courageous, deeply moving, fiercely honest novel about a woman trapped between the frontier military and the Cheyenne. I was enthralled, not only by the swift-moving story, but by the integrityand depth of understanding in every page. This novel is richly rewarding, and I look forward to more splendid stories from her." - Richard S. Wheeler, author of The Fields of Eden

"A sense of place, well-rounded characters, and an exciting and poignant ending make An Uncommon Enemyan uncommon book well worth the reading." - Roundup Magazine

"Michelle Black's An Uncommon Enemy is a clear-eyed and moving narrative of life among the Plains Indians, and of the reality of their struggle for existence against the elements and Manifest Destiny. But that was not enough for Black, who uses the business of Custer's missing ring finger to propel her story into the realm of great detective fiction. This is the closest thing to a collaboration between Jack London and Wilkie Collins." -Loren D. Estleman, President of Western Writers of America, Inc., and author of The Master Executioner.

About Michelle Black

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Michelle Black has done everything with horses as a professional rider, trainer, horse shoer and nutritional consultant. She is also an artist and has loved illustrating the Quincy the Horse series. She was born in Yuma, AZ into a world of horses. She says she was practically born on a horse. When she was 11, her family moved to Australia. Life there required self-sufficiency and independence. Michelle decided to leave Australia when she was 19. She returned to the US to discover where she came from. Although training horses was not a usual career path for young women at that time, she became a successful trainer. She also started to paint. For Michelle, art is a way of expressing herself, whether through the art of horse training or painting and wood carving.
Published July 29, 2010 by St. Martin's Press. 332 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction, Westerns. Fiction

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Publishers Weekly

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Black's take on Custer's cruel command is nuanced and well researched, her story of his encounter with Eden based on a cryptic remark Custer made in his field notes the day after Washita.

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