ON A HUMID MORNING in 1806, on the edge of Ohio's Great Black Swamp, seventeen-year-old Susanna Quiner watches helplessly from behind a tree as a band of Potawatomi Indians kidnaps her four older sisters from their cabin. With both her parents dead from Swamp Fever and all the other settlers away in their fields, Susanna rashly decides to pursue them herself. What follows is a young woman's quest to save her sisters and the parallel story of her sisters' new lives. Over the next five months, Susanna tans hides in a Moravian missionary village; escapes down a river with a young native girl; discovers an eccentric white woman raising chickens in the middle of the Great Black Swamp; and becomes a servant in a Wyandot village longhouse. The man who is in love with her, Seth Spendlove, is in pursuit after he realizes that his father directed the kidnapping. Part Potawatomi but living a white man's life, Seth unwittingly sets off on his own quest to reclaim his heritage as he searches for Susanna and her sisters. THIEVING FOREST depicts the transformation of all five sisters as the Quiners contend with starvation, slavery, betrayal, and love. Beautifully written and richly detailed, it paints a fascinating new picture of pioneer life among Native American communities, while telling a gripping tale of survival. "An elegiac, hopeful historical novel... hypnotic." (Kirkus Reviews) "A powerful tale of sisterhood and survival." (San Jose Mercury News)
Martha Conway grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, the sixth of seven daughters. Her first novel was nominated for an Edgar Award, and she has won several awards for her historical fiction, including an Independent Book Publishers Award and the North American Book Award for Historical Fiction. Her short fiction has been published in the Iowa Review, Massachusetts Review, Carolina Quarterly, Folio, Epoch, The Quarterly, and other journals. She has received a California Arts Council Fellowship for Creative Writing, and has reviewed books for the Iowa Review and the San Francisco Chronicle. She now lives in San Francisco, and is an instructor of creative writing for Stanford University's Continuing Studies Program and UC Berkeley Extension. She is the author of The Underground River.