Martin heeds the call of the Texas Rangers, hoping to restore honor to his native Texas as the storm of war quickly approaches. News from the east speaks of a long and drawn out conflict between the Union and the Confederacy. Though Martin never believed in slavery and holds no loyalty to the Confederacy, the Rangers seem like his best bet to defend his home, and perhaps give him the opportunity to bring Aguilar to justice.
Unlike his father, whom he sees as abandoning the ranch in its time of greatest need, Anson stays behind to pick up the pieces after the war. He wishes to bring the Barons' ranch to new glory, but to do so, he'll need to capture the elusive white bull, El Blanco Diablo, to sire his herd. And of course there's Lorene Purvis, the beautiful woman who's pledged her love to Anson; she may be the key to a new start.
The trail soon grows rocky for the Baron men. When Aguilar escapes after a bloody ambush, he has nothing but revenge against the Baron family festering in his head. Meanwhile, Anson's vaqueros have abandoned the Baron ranch, and a band of Apache have set their sights on making it their own the only way they know how . . . by killing the man who runs it.
The Barons have always been respected, but as rough times roll in, they're forced to reevaluate where their friends' loyalties lie, while also questioning their own. One thing's for sure, they won't lay down without a fight, and they'll do anything to defend The Baron Honor.
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In the aftermath of the Civil War, an aging itinerant news reader agrees to transport a young captive of the Kiowa back to her people in this exquisitely rendered, morally complex, multilayered novel of historical fiction from the author of Enemy Women that explores the boundaries of family, responsibility, honor, and trust.
In the wake of the Civil War, Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd travels through northern Texas, giving live readings from newspapers to paying audiences hungry for news of the world. An elderly widower who has lived through three wars and fought in two of them, the captain enjoys his rootless, solitary existence.
In Wichita Falls, he is offered a $50 gold piece to deliver a young orphan to her relatives in San Antonio. Four years earlier, a band of Kiowa raiders killed Johanna’s parents and sister; sparing the little girl, they raised her as one of their own. Recently rescued by the U.S. army, the ten-year-old has once again been torn away from the only home she knows.
Their 400-mile journey south through unsettled territory and unforgiving terrain proves difficult and at times dangerous. Johanna has forgotten the English language, tries to escape at every opportunity, throws away her shoes, and refuses to act “civilized.” Yet as the miles pass, the two lonely survivors tentatively begin to trust each other, forming a bond that marks the difference between life and death in this treacherous land.
Arriving in San Antonio, the reunion is neither happy nor welcome. The captain must hand Johanna over to an aunt and uncle she does not remember—strangers who regard her as an unwanted burden. A respectable man, Captain Kidd is faced with a terrible choice: abandon the girl to her fate or become—in the eyes of the law—a kidnapper himself.