A colorful, idealistically sympathetic biography of the loved and hard labouring Father of the California Missions. The book opens with Father Serra's arrival in California when he is about to begin his arduous tasks though still suffering from a snake bite, the effects of which plagued him for the rest of his life. There is a flashback to his childhood in Majorca, his student days at Las Palmas where he finally decided to become a Franciscan and a New World missionary, and the first leg of his journey to Mexico and California. Many of his subsequent trials and problems were the result of his own zealous temperament and many were caused by political difficulties such as Spain's fear of Russia or plain misfortunes of the sea and land expeditions. The author handles these elements as well as Father Serra's far-reaching spiritual work with the Indians in clear, if eulogistic detail, and the result is a very readable life story. Good supplementary reading.