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Splattered with considerable grue, this historical adventure and romance centers on the Pueblo Indian uprising in Santa Fe circa 1679-80, featuring a familial culture clash, survival struggles, and terrible treks. Gently raised Maria Espinosa, orphaned in Mexico City by cholera, is the only survivor of an Apache massacre of a wagon train bound for Santa Fe. Maria is rescued by landowner Diego Masferrer, head of a household at his estate of Las Inveradas, which contains--among others--his half brother Cristobal, whose mother was a Tewe Indian. Maria is happy in Diego's household and adores the mighty and tenderhearted Diego (although he has no qualms at all about owning Indian slaves). But Cristobal lives in two worlds, hating Diego's references to ""my Indians."" Maria, at Diego's request, does a bit of spying on Cristobal when she visits an ancient Indian who carves Spanish saints in the pueblo. And Maria stumbles on a secret rite--a sinister dance of masked men. And guess who's behind one of the masks? The Pueblos are indeed on the warpath. At one point Cristobal holds them back, after a wagon shed is set afire. There will be one more good deed for his half brother, and then Cristobal makes his choice, joining with other Pueblos and Apaches in an all-out war on the whites. Eventually, a series of massacres wipes out the colony, and the survivors. Maria and Diego marry before the long march south. Mild, muzzy characters, all but blotted out by the array of corpses in various degrees of inventive dismemberment. Romance with yuck.

Pub Date: June 4th, 1985
Publisher: Donald Fine