The dizzyingly prolific Wheeler’s thirtysomethingth novel, windup to the trilogy begun with Flint’s Gift (1997) and Flint’s Truth (1998), which is at heart a saga about western journalism in the 19th century. Big, lean Sam Flint is a peripatetic publisher who, over the course of the past 12 years, has started up about eight weeklies among the boomtown years. Now, he’s moved to Silver City, in the newly christened state of Colorado, to foment a rivalry with the established but coarsely vulgar Silver City Democrat, the kind of paper that lets loose editorial guffaws about a local woman’s tragic suicide. Flint faces not only hydra-headed editor Digby Westminster, but also big, bald, frost-laden silver king Achilles Balthazar, head of the Mining Association, who buys up mines, has little regard for the lives of his workers, and looks like an eerily unblinking, monocled undertaker. Everyone warns Flint about starting up the Silver City Sentinel, dubbed by Westminster The Bawdyhouse Bugle because Flint has to set up shop in a building owned by whorehouse madame Chastity Ford. All told, a duel of honor arises between the two papers until the Sentinel’s printing plant is seized and physically moved by Balthazar. To be set beside Wheeler’s well-researched novel/memoir Sun Mountain (p. 487), which tells of the life of western newsman/editor Henry Jackson Stoddard and includes Stoddard’s ties to Sam Clemens, a fellow Gold Rush reporter who went on to greater things.