Brazil -- and the bloody beginnings of the cacao plantations --days when the land was fertilized with the blood of men that died so that other men might win the right to seize lands that were to be stripped of their forests and planted in the trees that bore fruit of gold. There was Horacio, who would let nothing stand in his way; his one weakness his wife, Ester, and who believed in her until after her death when he found she had slept with an attorney, Virgilio -- and then Virgilio must die. There were the Badaro brothers, who claimed the identical land Horacio lusted for, and who hired a card sharper, Capt. Joao, to make a fake survey of the land, and file claim. And a women was Joao's weakness, too, for he loved Don' Ana. Then there was Margot, prostitute who had financed Virgilio, and who left him when he took on Ester. No central theme as in an American story of a frontier. A novel of the soil -- as ""the violent land"" achieved status.