An Uncommon Enemy

Written by Michelle Black
Review by Sarah Nesbeitt

In November 1868, General Custer penned a letter to his wife in which he mentioned the arrival of a white woman, presumably an Indian captive, in his camp. In Black’s version, the woman is Eden Murdoch, forcibly taken into custody when Custer’s frontier army attacks a Cheyenne village. But Eden, who had found happiness with her Cheyenne family, did not want to be rescued. To white society, where all natives are deemed savages, Eden is an embarrassment.

Among the few willing to hear Eden’s story is Brad Randall, Custer’s young aide-de-camp. Although Custer wants to use her as an example to justify violence against the Indians, she will do anything to prevent this from happening. Captain Randall, sworn to Custer but fascinated by Eden, finds his loyalties torn.

This is a fast-moving, ambitious western that successfully takes on a number of complex issues. Its characters refuse to be pigeonholed into stereotypes, and good and evil are found in equal measure on both sides. There is romance, too, but in this as in all else, the novel is anything but predictable. The author’s message is presented with both strength and compassion. Why haven’t I heard of Michelle Black before now? After finishing An Uncommon Enemy, I went out and purchased her earlier novels.