On March 1, 1836, thirty-two determined men from Gonzales, guided by John W. Smith, reached Salado Creek, on the outskirts of San Antonio, to come to the relief of the Alamo. This work of fiction is their story."" Told from the viewpoint of the boy, Juan, son of a Yankee farmer and a Mexican mother, this is an exceptionally able and moving testament to that generous but fatal impulse. When the story opens the Alamo is already under the siege of Santa Anna. Juan's father has been wounded and their farm has been ravaged. Together with a small force under the plainsman Kirbit, the family proceeds to the town of Gonzales where, it is hoped, a larger force will be assembled for the defense of the Alamo. But the men of Gonzales, who are willing to sacrifice everything for the sake of liberty, are met with a discouraging series of obstacles. Reenforcements from Fort Defiance under the command of Fannin are unlikely; the notorious Sam Houston offers no leadership; their provisions are low and their equipment is makeshift. Convinced, finally, that the beseiged force of 150 Texans could expect no other help, the small band of thirty-two, including Juan and his father as guide, sustained only by will, advance toward the Alamo in what proves to be unselfish folly. There are scenes which reveal the history of the individuals involved and the personal conflicts -- brutal, reviling and poignant, which arise from the drama. A brief, eloquent evocation of the land and the times. John H. Culp is the author of Born of the Sun.