Hundred in the Hand
First in a series of novels about the American West from the Lakota perspective, Marshall tells the events leading up to the 1866 battle known as the Hundred in the Hand by the Lakota, and the Fetterman Battle or Massacre by the U.S. Army. It’s both a victory for the Lakota and a turning point for both sides in the Indian Wars of the 19th century.
The warrior Cloud, confederate of a young Crazy Horse, is the story’s main protagonist, but the story abounds with good characterizations and viewpoints throughout: from Rabbit, a loner who becomes a cold killer, to Hornsby, a misplaced New Englander, obsessed and manipulated once he views Sweetwater, Cloud’s wife, whose red hair betrays her as Lakota in all ways except blood heritage.
Marshall’s spare, lyrical style lends itself well to the story. The talk Cloud has with Black Shield about the journey toward manhood is both profound and moving. With its inevitable sadness and misunderstandings, this is a history that belongs to all of us. And with its latest foray into fiction, the highly respected Fulcrum Publishing has taken a sure step indeed. This Western transcends its genre. Highly recommended.