In 1991 a young Tess Masterson watched with horror as her parents were both eaten alive by fire in their barn. Tess was horrified as she stood by and knew there was nothing she could do to save them. The fire pointed Tess’s life towards fire fighting as a Smoke Jumper, those that jump from airplanes into the fire to attempt to stop its forward progress in any way they can. Tess relives that day every time she jumps into a fire and wonders many times what she could have done to save her parents from that barn inferno.
During one of the jumps Tess and a good friend, Allie, jumped as a pair into one of the fires. Allie’s parachute did not open. Tess did all she could to assist Allie as they both floated towards the fire, reaching her and holding on to slow her fall. In the end, Allie was slowed but not enough to keep her from getting badly hurt when she hit earth. When Tess learned that the parachute Allie used was actually Tess’s chute she began to think that she must have been a target by someone sabotaging her chute. Some of the lines were cut showing the murderous intent by someone. But who? Anyone on the fire team could have done this as well as anyone near their base camp. Allie was in the hospital and there she would stay for some time so her broken bones and the rest of her body could heal.
Chase Huston was a foster child the Masterson’s had taken in. He was a handsome but bothersome ranch hand that Tess skirted when she could. Tess also owned a gorgeous horse, Wildfire who was a one-person horse, and Tess was that person. She hated leaving him when she had to go back on duty and couldn’t wait until that smoke jumpers duty was over to see Wildfire back at the family owned ranch.
Fires continued to start in suspicious ways and places with a note and evidence found at most of therelated fires. Signed “The Smoke Dancer” this person stopped at nothing to kill or maim animals or humans. The Masterson family seemed to be one of the main subjects The Fire Dancer was out to hurt.
Stevie was Tess’s sister who Tess knew was not feeling good by just looking at her. Stevie had Lupus that left her feeling very run down and poorly. This devastated Tess. Tess helped her in any possible way. As time went on, Tess and Chase became closer but bitterness still was in the back of each other’s mind, bitterness from earlier years. Eventually feelings between the two did change.
Tess’s Smoke Jumper friends were the same or better than her family since she was with them so much and each ones life was so valuable to the others. It was hard to think that one of them could be the one that has been trying to hurt or kill Tess but the possibility of that existed as it did with various ranch hands.
I have always been fascinated by stories about fire, the fighting of them and the tracking down ofists. “Fire Dancer” is a great story with so many Christian values explored throughout; values that would help all involved when they take those values into their lives. Colleen Coble has spun an excellent story combining love, adventure, fire, mystery, murder, and that Christian value. An excellent book and a great read. Colleen writes in a way that makes this book easy and interesting to read, and hard to put down.