A Confederate Army, assembled in Texas in 1862, invaded the Union Southwest, intending to slice its way through to the Pacific and seize California. After a series of early victories, however, fortune turned against the Confederates, and the war in the Southwest proved to be short, sharp, and bloody for both sides. Glorieta, the first of at least two volumes on the campaign, is an impeccably researched novel with a sure feel for the arid landscapes of New Mexico. The impact of the work, though, is somewhat diluted by the length of the narrative (which covers only the first half of the campaign) and by the rather thin characterizations. Nagle focuses on four figures: a tough, brave, illiterate minor who rises to become a Yankee captain; a bright, sensitive Union lieutenant who conceals an astonishing secret; a diligent young man who is talked into becoming the Confederate quartermaster and is thus responsible for keeping his Army on the move; and a resilient young woman, caught up in the conflict, who is both profoundly moved and altered by what she sees. Her character, it should be noted, is far more believably complex than those of most of the combatants. Readers with an enthusiasm for Civil War fiction will find this a strong work, better for its tale than its characters. Others may find it slow going.