Books: The Touch of a Feather

ARK OF EMPIRE by Dale Van Every. 383 pages. Morrow. $6.

The first brushfire war in U.S. history began—like many such wars since—with a peace treaty. When Britain came to terms with American independence in 1783, the fighting ceased in the populous east. But west of the Appalachians, the frontier settlements found themselves still at war. Indians, supplied and encouraged by the British, attacked forts, raided settlements and terrorized isolated settlers. The British, with well-conceived malice aforethought, were trying hard to stem the westward surge of the energetic new Americans. They came in on foot along Daniel Boone's Wilderness Road or down...

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