by Richard Wheeler
: Ulysses McQueen leaves his wife on the family farm in Iowa to seek his fortune in the California gold rush just as Steven Jarvis is mustered out of the army in booming Monterey. After a grueling cross-country trek, McQueen sets about grubbing in the dust near Sutter's Mill, while Jarvis turns to the mercantile trade. McQueen pines for his wife but postpones writing her until his fortune is assured, while Jarvis becomes a workaholic after he is denied the love of his life. Their paths cross in the frenzy of gold fever as the destitute McQueen proposes farming on Jarvis's land to provide fresh produce for the starving miners. Love finds both men as well. Wheeler has a long list of novels of the West to his credit (e.g., Goldfield, Forge, 1995) and is a real master at capturing the history, atmosphere, and romance of 1850s California. This will appeal to readers of Westerns and general fiction alike. Recommended.
Susan Gene Clifford, Palos Verdes Library District, Cal. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms