Exodus of Chaos
by Steven Kent Olson

"Porter was in awe of this woman—her honesty and logic, and above all else, her bravery."

This novel reminds readers that as the Civil War raged in the mid-1860s, it wasn't the only life-changing event affecting people across the United States. While Northern and Southern troops were annihilating each other in historic battles, native Americans were systematically uprooted, moved, and often eliminated as America's colonial expansion moved inexorably westward. Author Olson chronicles the latter tragedy in an intimate story of courage, defiance, and perseverance.

Porter is a Union soldier who has left the war behind and is helping a comrade's family reunite. He sees himself and his own particular history as less than honorable, but that doesn't keep him from trying to do what's right. After fulfilling his initial obligation, Porter heads west and finds himself involved with the remnants of a dead farmer's family struggling to get by. The farmer was white, and his widow, a Santee Dakota, must now defend their children and homestead from marauding tribes, unscrupulous opportunists, and even Porter's former organization, the U.S. Military. Over time he will be befriended, accepted, and loved by this family. And, eventually, he will risk everything to help save them.

Olson is an excellent storyteller who fills his narrative with the requisite elements of conflict, suspense, and action. He also sprinkles his chronicle with intricate details of rural living, hunting, and farming techniques that were part and parcel of the times. His details add an authenticity that strengthens the tale being told. A portrait unfolds of desperate people caught in dangerous times, a burgeoning land torn asunder by internal strife, and the good that individuals can do when they're determined to make a difference.

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