L'Amour is no longer happy with mere tales of gunslingers, and so his westerns have shaded gradually into historical romance and swordplay east of the Mississippi--and this is the earliest panel in his vast mural romance about the settling of the New World. Tatton Chantry, whose descendants are already familiar to this series' readers, lands on a North Carolina shore, alone, shipwrecked, and beset by savages, He throws in with some equally lost Spanish noblemen, meets the lovely Guadalupe Romana, a Spanish lady raised among the Peruvians who has the mysticism of the Andes locked into her gaze. The novel goes into a long flashback, carrying Chantry from his noble childhood as a wellborn Irishman driven into exile, through his apprenticeships in London as a swordsman and soldier. Captured at sea by the Spanish Armada, he fights and loves throughout Spain and in several European wars, returning to London after having won a gift horse from Henry of Navarre. Then he's off to make his fortune in the New World, where we hear tell of some strange, occult-y doings: ""There is in the world a secret group, a society, if you will, of men of similar experience and ideas. It is old, older than any other, older than even any religion we now know. It is a society that crosses all boundaries, all lands and all seas. . . . "" That sure is a far cry from ""I doan like the color of yore eyes, varmint!