Steven Kohlhagen’s Chief of Thieves, based on 32 historical characters and 12 fictional ones, is a saga that crisscrosses the American West between 1862 and 1876. Two con artists—Auggie, an army deser-ter, and Lily, a former prostitute—seek to use their stolen wealth to buy a ranch. Their plans survive attacks from the Navajo, Paiute, Modoc, Cheyenne, and Sioux tribes. Finally they establish their ranch in Wyoming. The climax of the story, with Auggie as a scout for Custer, is the Little Big Horn. Here, Kohlhagen achieves a masterpiece of historical fiction. His account of the battle reads as if he were there.
—James J. Hester, author of Early Navajo Migrations and Acculturation
in the Southwest