RIDERS TO CIBOLA by Norman Zollinger


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A first novel that deserves support, Riders to Cibola is a small-scale dynastic saga about New Mexico, is filled with excellent domestic observation and the details of ranch life--and never panders to romantic fiction. The three-generation tale begins with ten-year-old Ignacio Ortiz running away from his Mexican village when it's raided by butchering revolutionaries. The solemn youngster is taken on as a cowhand at the MacAndrews brothers' ranch, is treated with equality, becomes a real vaquero (cowboy) over the yeats, is taught to read by the boss' wife, and becomes foreman by 21. He never smiles. But the boss' son Jamie is all smiles--and ne'er-do-well selfishness. Jamie marries well, inherits, has an artistic son, and should be the king of the world. But a leg wound he picks up in France during the War gives him a permanent excuse for self-indulgence. Meanwhile (symbolically) Ignacio is the backbone of the ranch as various MacAndrews folks die or give birth. His love affairs are abortive, with white or Mexican women. But even he can't hold the ranch together when Jamie's self-pity at last turns pathological. Clear, plain, responsive writing, no striving for philosophic thunder (although the birth of the A-bomb is witnessed by Ignacio and can be construed as ""apocalyptic""), a few echoes of Willa Cather--quietly worthy.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1978
ISBN: 1590202899
Publisher: Museum of New Mexico Press (Box 2087, Santa Fe, N. Mex 87503)