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The image of the pistol, a Smith & Wesson .44, on the book cover is from a photo taken at the National Infantry Museum, Fort Benning, Georgia.
The images of the feathers are pencil sketches of hawk feathers that I drew with a number two pencil. I have always liked to draw. --SC
Arizona Territory 1879 was an untamed frontier. It was a harsh land, high plains desert, sprinkled with cactus, mesquite, rattlesnakes, and Apache. The territory was an unforgiving land where settlers eked out a living and miners chased dreams of gold. It was a wild land, where legal decisions were often a matter of who had the faster gun. Along the border with Old Mexico, the soldiers of the U.S. Cavalry risked their lives protecting settlers and keeping the peace with the Apache, for the princely sum of thirteen dollars a month.
Camp Huachuca was an army post poised at the edge of civilization, overlooking routes popular with migrating bands of Apache, and cattle rustlers from both sides of the Mexican border. When Captain William Yeager's daughter disappears, presumably taken by the Apache, Yeager and his wife are desperate to find their child. But as a representative of the United States government, there are boundaries he cannot cross, such as the Mexican border south of which many groups of the Apache have winter camps. Yeager sends for the one man he knows that might be able to find his child and bring her home safely; an ex-scout who served with the 7th Cavalry, Walks with the Wind.
A Child of the Wind is the story of a man, born to wander, raised by the Mandan people and destined to be tested on a quest that stretches from the Black Hills of Dakota to the rugged Huachuca Mountains of Southern Arizona. The tale of the one-time cavalry scout, whom members of the Seventh Cavalry knew as Walks with the Wind, is set against a rapidly changing frontier landscape where the prospect of gold, silver, or copper could cause a rough prospector's camp to grow to a town of several thousand nearly overnight, and then disappear just as quickly; the buildings left to house only ghosts, the people cut loose to drift to the next claim or to find their tombstone. It is a story from a place and time that led some to an early grave and forged others into legend.
Neither Bell nor the cowboy saw the dust-brown man come up to the bar. He walked silently on moccasined feet, quiet as a stalking panther. He moved as fast as a striking panther, too. No one quite saw what happened, it was so quick. The dust-brown man hooked the heel of his moccasined foot in front of the cowboy’s boot. As he yanked backward with his foot, he shoved the cowboy’s head toward the bar. In a split second, the cowboy’s feet flew out from under him and he slammed into the polished mahogany bar face first, with a sound like a ripe melon dropped on a boardwalk. He slumped to the floor of the saloon in a boneless heap.
Bell turned in surprise, not sure exactly what had happened. One moment the cowboy had been on a diatribe; the next instant he was a collapsed heap on the floor. It was so fast the rest of the saloon hadn’t really paid any attention. The conversation at the bar tailed off, gradually slowing to a halt. Bell leaned against the bar, beer mug loosely grasped in his right hand, left hand on his hip. He glanced at the dust-brown man with a quizzical look on his face.
The dust-brown man lifted one shoulder in what may have been a shrug. “Some men do not handle alcohol well,” the dust-brown man suggested in response to Bell’s unspoken question. Walker looked down at the man sprawled on the floor, shaking his head slightly then glanced back up at Bell. “I do not drink myself. It causes one to say foolish things.”
Bell spared a glance down at the cowboy then returned to his beer nodding in agreement, “Aye, I suppose it can.”
The dust-brown man spoke again. “I am the one you seek. I am Walker.”