Framed by the tragic double captivity (as both a child and an adult) of Cynthia Ann Parker and the life of her brilliant, charismatic Comanche warrior son, Quanah Parker, S. C. Gwynne's vivid picture of the rolling sea of grass and conflict known as the southern Great Plains, where the Comanches once ruled, comes to life. In the nineteenth century, Comanche bands still fought and hunted and, in their own nomadic terms, "owned" large swaths of this American landscape. But as more white settlers moved in, the federal government waged increasingly skillful warfare against them, and many of their brethren were killed or put into another kind of captivity on reservations, free Comanches became aware that their reign--and their freedom--were coming to an end. This is the story of the often brutal tactics they used to hold onto a lost way of life. Gwynne tells a sad tale in which a few heroes, both white and Indian, stand in sharp relief against a background of misery, greed, and virtual genocide. It's not a pleasant story, that's for sure, but it is told masterfully with passion and insight. I rate it: wow!