Arnold's concern for the early days of the Southwest territory was evidenced in Blood Brother, which showed Arizona in the grim period of Apache warfare. Now in this new book (note- he is back again on Knopf's list) Arnold has taken the story of New Mexico under the bloody and ruthless tyranny of the Mexican governor, Don Manuel Armijo, shortly prior to its absorption in the U.S. history tells little of the virtual slavery in which any who opposed Don Manuel were held. Even the Texan issue- and the cruel punishment meted out- is recorded as ""just"" by the encyclopedia. But Arnold goes behind the scenes, and in storied History records Don Manuel's rise to power, his ways of holding that power, his personality and his lusts and his vengeances. The part played by one of his junior officers, Caballero, and the girl that both of them loved (in so far as Don Manuel could be said to ""love"") provides a thread to link a perhaps too meticulously recorded pattern of history into the story. The book is overlong -- the action lags often- but the light thrown on this little known phase of New Mexico's history makes it in final analysis rewarding.