Mattie Collins, the daughter of a widower and rancher raised in the wilds of the Texas frontier, a child of the post Civil War era, a time of turbulent change and violent conflict. All Mattie knows of the world she lives in she’s gleaned from the tales of hard men; the cattle hands and tramps who work her father’s ranch. Mattie’s father, Jeb, loves Mattie above all things, and he’s taught her everything he knows about riding and roping, driving cattle and surviving the badlands. She’s a woman surviving in a man’s world, accepted as an equal, and living beyond the confines of all that polite society expects from a woman. But things are about to change.
Tragedy strikes during a cattle drive to New Mexico, and Mattie learns in one violent encounter that the world contains perils particular to women.
The Heart of the Savage is a brutal examination of post Civil War society, seen through the eyes of a complex and thoughtfully drawn protagonist who transcends the roles and limitations of her station. A Rain of Thorns, the first in the Mattie Collins saga, finds Mattie as a young woman, hobbled on all sides by the customs, expectations, and traditions of men. Against the vivid backdrop of violence and prejudice known as the American Old West, a world inhabited with steely gunslingers, ruthless outlaws, savage Indians, and greedy ranchers, Mattie must fight to protect everything she holds dear from men who would seek to destroy it all.
And it’s deep inside the confines of her untamed, passionate heart that she must look for the answers. For no matter how men may use her, or take from her, or force her to submit to their every base desire, they can never reach her there. And her desire to live free, to be her own master, and to experience the world and all of its pleasures on her terms, soon forces Mattie to abandon her fears, as she embarks on the most dangerous and uncertain adventure yet: The adventure of becoming a woman.