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Jesuit Father Faherty's first novel, A Wall For San Sebastian, has a somewhat unique twist in that its hero is a Franciscan Friar of the late seventeen hundreds. It combines a fascinating, and historically accurate, story with excellent descriptions of the ruggedly beautiful land near the Texas-Mexico border. Fray Leon Alastray -- whose face wore the ""look of an eagle and the look of a dove"" -- became a Franciscan after serving for years in the Spanish army. His most difficult inner struggle as the remote Mission of San Sebastian is to keep the ""soldier of Cortez from dominating the soldier of Christ"". Fray Leon realized that one of his most important tasks was to fortify the Mission against the return of the fierce Comanche raiders who had almost destroyed it. But he also had to win the love and respect of his people and bring many of them back into the Church. This he accomplishes through his hard manual labor to improve their physical conditions even while his spiritual efforts are winning their souls. When the lovely young Kini leaves for a convent in Durango to become the first of the village, he recognizes the ""first indications of the village's spiritual coming of age"". The in Fray Icon helps him to build the impenetrable wall around Ban Sebastian, and to train the men for its military defense. But it is the Franciscan Priest who goes out alone to meet the ruthless Comanche chief, Golden Lance, to persuade him to spare the Mission. Father Faherty's obvious love of the Southwest and its history shines through in this extremely satisfying book.

Pub Date: Dec. 19th, 1962
Publisher: Academy Guild