More like 3 1/2. The plot got really bogged down in the middle part, if not for that it would have earn 4 stars. The women characters were really well done. From Betty, the officer's wife, competent and bright (pregnant too) to Grace, the elderly doctor on a mission to Lily, the young American free spirit. Even secondary women characters with only cameo, I'm thinking about the Australian gypsy and the young chief's wife were bright lights in this novel. It's rare that you get so many strong, competent, smart female characters all at once. Now the story, this is the British Indian and what is now Pakistan frontier in the 1920's. Tribal wars, feuds, grudges and revenge. We join Joe Sandilands, Cleverly's hero, in his next adventure. A fort at the edge of the wilderness, a dead visitor that has the potential to bring out full out tribal war. A list of suspect to death that may or may not be murder. The overall idea is good, the resolution is good, it's the execution that brings down the pace. There are secondary characters that we don't need to know so much about. I'm thinking of the British Air Force officer or the Delhi bureaucrat. They have their role to play into the plot but too much time was spend on their background. Unless Cleverly plans on bringing them back.So good characters, good plot overall but slow pace.