This “Eastern” is a fictionalized account of the Native American leader Osceola and the Second Seminole War of 1835-42 in Florida. The Seminoles provide refuge to runaway slaves, the “Freedom Land” of the title, provoking the pro-slavery government into taking action against them. Osceola, also called Billy Powell, is not a hereditary chief, but proves to be an able military leader. The Seminoles and ex-slaves carry out many successful guerrilla skirmishes in the Florida swamps, which in the end cost one soldier’s life for every two Seminoles later relocated West.
Marcus uses poetic license to change some of the facts, such as giving Powell/Osceola blond hair and blue eyes, when George Catlin’s famous life portrait shows otherwise. Or killing off another Seminole leader, Alligator, when in reality he survived Osceola by several years. Despite that, the book is an action-packed adventure story that will appeal to fans of many kinds of fiction: military, Native American, African American, and adventure. And it should prompt readers to find out more about the period, always a measure of a good historical novel. It is a shame the author died of ALS just before the book was published.