This saga takes us from Frontera del Norte valleys of Alta California to modern-day San Francisco. Mexican frontier commander, Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo, offers a sham land grant of a modest-sized rancho. His intent is to save the neck of his mayordomo-henchman; instead, he ignites a wildfire of duplicity. The tainted bribe becomes the focal point for generations of conflicts. Fates of Indians, Californios, Kanakas, and Americans entwine in ways mysterious and shocking. Their legacies course through years of wars, bigotries, and betrayals until they collide in the Presidio Cemetery, near the Golden Gate Bridge. A jaundiced New York reporter—while resisting the pull of his own destiny—happens there that night. He uncovers sins and secrets that had been buried in the past.
Readers interested in forgotten yesteryears, what might have been, and what still might be, will find this haunting blend of well-researched history, fiction, and magical realism deeply moving.
Selected readings by the author, Q&A, Book signing. Free Admission, all donations gratefully accepted. Refreshments by donation, wine & beer for sale.
About the author:
Ken Nugent was born on Long Island, New York, the eighth of eleven children, and a Californian since 1979. His passion for forgotten stories of California and The West, thrived while he served on boards of the Sonoma County Historical Society and the Petaluma Museum. During that time, he wrote a history of stained-glass church windows stored on a ranch in a collapsing henhouse, and a anti-war drama, “The Finger,” which won the Dominican University Marin Fringe Festival “First Place Best Play” honor.
Nugent was inspired to write this debut novel, Petaluma Slough after his deceased college roommate and Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Mike McAlary, was portrayed by Tom Hanks in Nora Ephron’s Broadway smash play, “Lucky Guy.” The dramatic plot of the play evoked the brief, cyclical nature of life, inspiring Nugent to complete this saga. He is currently writing a story about elite, New York gold seekers who were led by John Woodhouse Audubon to California.