The year is 1782. Marco Mondragon, brand inspector in Spanish New Mexico, and his wife Paloma Vega have settled happily into married life on the Double Cross. And yet Paloma is convinced their joy will not be complete until she has a child. She longs to give her husband a baby to soothe his grief over the death from cholera of his first wife and twin sons.Read more...
The year is 1782. Marco Mondragon, brand inspector in Spanish New Mexico, and his wife Paloma Vega have settled happily into married life on the Double Cross. And yet Paloma is convinced their joy will not be complete until she has a child. She longs to give her husband a baby to soothe his grief over the death from cholera of his first wife and twin sons.
Marco's land grant stands at the edge of the most dangerous region in the Southwest: Comancheria. Both Paloma and Marco have suffered at the hands of the fierce Comanche, losing beloved family members in raids.
Despite their fear and mistrust of the Comanche, one lives among them. Paloma rescued Toshua from slavery and near death. As much as she respects the man now, Paloma wishes he would return to the Staked Plains, Comanche stronghold to the east in Texas. No one knows why Toshua remains at the Double Cross. Is it because his own tribe shunned him, or is he genuinely attached to its owners?
Now a new enemy threatens the Mondragons' domestic bliss: the Dark Wind--la viruela, smallpox--barreling down on the defenseless royal colony from Comancheria. A mysterious and arrogant English physician named Anthony Gill offers their one hope at salvation... but only if Marco agrees to his Devil's Bargain.
Book Two in the Spanish Brand series, which began with The Double Cross.
- ISBN-13: 9781603812290
- ISBN-10: 1603812296
- Publisher: Camel Press
- Publish Date: September 2014
- Page Count: 256
- Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.9 x 0.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 0.9 pounds
Series: Spanish Brand
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2014-07-14
- Reviewer: Staff
In Kelly’s dramatic second Spanish Brand historical (after The Double Cross), Marco Mondragón, a genial lawman on the New Mexican frontier in 1782, fears that his young wife, Paloma, will be stricken by the approaching smallpox epidemic. When their Comanche friend, Toshua, rescues Anthony Gill, a white physician, from the desert, they strike the titular bargain: Anthony will inoculate Paloma and their neighbors, and Marco and Toshua will escort Anthony to a Comanche hideaway that he suspects harbors his kidnapped daughter. Kelly brings historical verisimilitude to the setting, and her story brims with compassion for the human condition. The slightly saccharine cliché of natives adopting colonizers as family is mitigated by powerful themes of disease, infertility, strength in the face of loss, and kindness between individuals whose cultures are at war. Though la viruela is, in some ways, the story’s main character, the love between Marco and Paloma, equal parts strong attachment and mutual high regard, takes emotional center stage, a satisfying oasis of beauty in the midst of stark harshness. (Sept.)