In White Dawn, the half-white chief, Swift Foot, gives up his love for Emily in favor of duty to his tribe, the Hunkpapa Sioux. In the sequel, he returns to marry Small Bird in order to form an alliance that his people hope will bring about peace with the Miniconjou. Their tribe had gone to war against the Miniconjou because Swift Foot's father married a white woman rather than the woman chosen for him.
Swift Foot earned his warrior name by saving Small Bird's life and he marries her strictly out of duty. Duty is also a part of Small Bird's consent, but she's experienced a vision that confirms their destiny, and she's always been secretly in love with Swift Foot.
The wonderfully poetic prose captures the naturalism of the traditional Sioux; the main love story is enhanced by the secondary romance about Lone Warrior and the scarred beauty, Willow Song. Only the intensity of the war between Sioux tribes offers any drawback to Edwards's compelling story. SENSUAL (Nov., 368 pp., $5.99)