The promise of their own land on the Kansas prairie entices the Harban family to move west, along with other African-American sharecroppers from the post-Civil War South. When the group arrives at their all-black settlement of Nicodemus, the impoverished and ill-prepared settlers find empty wilderness—no houses, no businesses and no hope of survival except living off the land.

With winter coming, threats of star-vation and freezing force them to work frantically, and their labors won't be enough unless the nearby white communities reach out to help. But life has taught the folks of Nicodemus not to expect much from whites.

Miller reveals an extraordinary slice of history. The characters are too cut and dried and the style is rambling, with more telling than showing, but fans of Gilbert Morris will enjoy this one. (Jul., 384 pp., $12.99)
Reviewed by: 
Jill Elizabeth Nelson