Willow, who is part Nez Perce, has been educated in the East and returns home to teach her people's children to read the white man's books. Though she looks and acts like a proper young lady, Willow encounters the same prejudices and injustice all of Chief Joseph's people face each day. But it is not the whites who disturb Willow's peace; it's the dangerous, sensual warrior, Bear.

Proud and independent, Bear has no use for a "white Indian" like Willow. He is angry that his younger brother, Raven, follows her around and talks of learning to read. Raven even goes so far as to plead with Bear to propose to Willow on his behalf.

There is no denying the powerful attraction between Willow and Bear, and when she needs comfort it is Bear who gives her the shelter of his body and his love.

As Willow and Bear test the fragility of their newfound love, their people are caught in the government's legal maneuvers. Will they fight for their land, be removed, or attempt the harrowing journey to freedom in Canada?

Set against a shameful era in American history, SONG OF THE WARRIOR is as powerful and richly detailed an Indian romance as Georgina Gentry has ever written. The three-dimensional characters jump from the pages and the Nez Perce plight takes on new and intense meaning. You'll feel the pain, sorrow and tragedy of a proud people through Ms. Gentry's luminous storytelling. SENSUAL (June, 450 pp., $5.50)

Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin