As wildfires threaten his home, his stepfather's livelihood, and the raptors he has come to love, Luther struggles to resolve the conflicts in his community and the ones inside himself.
The town of Heartwood, Montana, is burning out of control. Stoked by the very real flames from nearby wildfires, long-standing, smoldering disputes over forestry policies have been reignited, pitting out-of-work local residents against environmentalists and state wildlife managers. At the center of the heated dispute is high school sophomore Luther Wright.
Luther used to be just like all his friends, playing football and partying every chance he got. But not anymore. Now he spends his time helping Kay, the local veterinarian, rehabilitate injured raptors and learning the art of falconry. Against the backdrop of Montana's worst wildfire season in years, Luther begins questioning many of the community's basic precepts, and in doing so faces alienation not only from his friends, but also from his own family. He finds a kindred spirit in Alex, a new girl at his school who is also "on the outside" socially. But when someone starts shooting Kay's birds and suspicious fires start breaking out, Luther and Alex are drawn into a situation far more dangerous than either of them could ever have imagined.
Award-winning author Sneed B. Collard III offers readers an affecting, realistic portrait of a teenage boy who learns to navigate a difficult course between standing up for what he believes in and maintaining loyalty to his family and the friends and neighbors he has known much of his life. Collard also provides a balanced look at a very real problem by illustrating the difficulties of balancing competing environmental and economic interests.