Led by the zealous Fray Junipero Serra to the fringes of the Spanish Empire in the mid-1700s, Franciscan missionaries Francisco Palou and Juan Crespi are as fervid as their master about the opportunity posed by Alta California: to gloriously swell the kingdom of God through conversion--consensual or forced--of the native people. As Crespi and our sensitive but bitterly envious narrator, Palou, vie for Serra�s fickle favor, a chain of their newly established missions creeps north up the fog-enshrouded coast from Mexico. A master stylist and a meticulous researcher, Nick Taylor vividly captures the atmosphere of early California as he dramatizes the politics of the era: the horrifying and tragic gaps in understanding between priests and natives; the vicious power plays between crown and church; and the fervor, ambition, and desperation that fueled European settlement of the region. This novel�s publication coincides with the celebration of the 300th anniversary of Junipero Serra�s birth.
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About the Author
Nick Taylor�s debut novel, The Disagreement (Simon & Schuster), won the 2009 Michael Shaara Prize for Excellence in Civil War Fiction. A graduate of the M.F.A. program at the University of Virginia, Taylor is currently an assistant professor of English and comparative literature at San Jose State University.