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publication date February 12, 2008

Set in 1871 in the unforgiving desert of the Arizona territories, Shavetail is the story of Private Ned Thorne, a seventeen-year-old boy from Connecticut who has lied about his age to join the army. On the run from a shameful past, Ned is desperate to prove his worth—to his superiors, his family, and most of all, to himself. Young and troubled, Ned is as stubborn as a shavetail, the soldiers’ term for a willful, untrained mule.
After a band of Apaches attacks a nearby ranch, killing two men and, perhaps, kidnapping a woman, Ned’s superiors, also seeking to atone for their mistakes, lead Ned and the rest of his company on a near suicidal mission through a particularly menacing stretch of desert and into Mexico in hopes of saving the woman’s life.