This book has three main characters. The first and most important is Otter. His fatherís name is Squeaky and his uncles is Foxfire. In this book Otter wants to join his uncle and father in America, to help with the great work. The great work is what the Chinese call their plan to get the Manchus, an evil band of marauders, out of china. They do this by helping the Americans build the transcontinental railroad. One day Otter gets his wish when he accidentally kills a Manchu. His mother decides to send him to American since it would be to dangerous here, because the Manchus are out to get him. The only thing that Otter and his mother do not know is that when Otter will be there, it will be a very harsh winter. Also when Otter gets there he finds out that instead of his father and uncle being the leaders they are treated worse than slaves.
This book was the best historical fiction book I have ever read. One reason is that it is very interesting. You never know what will happen. For example, in one chapter Otters uncle gets blinded. Also, the author keeps it interesting by having two languages. English is in Italics and Chinese is normal.