Mariana's Knight

Legends of the Desert Book 1

Synopsis

Albert Fountain, tough frontiersman, well-known territorial political figure, newspaper publisher, and respected attorney for the Southeastern New Mexico Stock Growers' Association believes he has enough evidence to convict Oliver Lee of cattle rustling. Lee, smart, deadly with a gun, and leader of small ranchers in the Tularosa Basin, is a major political opponent. In early January 1896 Fountain plans to travel from his home in Las Cruces to Lincoln, New Mexico, to obtain grand jury indictments against Lee and others. Albert, warned he will be killed if he goes to the grand jury, will not back down. His wife and mother of their twelve children, Mariana, begs him not to go, but if he must, then to take their eight year-old son, Henry, with him. She believes Henry is the key to Albert's safety. No one will attack a man traveling with a young boy. Albert finally agrees Henry can come if he wants. Henry is overjoyed at the offer to travel with his father and swells with pride when his mother asks him to be her knight and protect his father. Three weeks later, returning from Lincoln on a cold, overcast winter's day in the desert near White Sands, New Mexico Territory, Albert and Henry vanish. They are never found.

Henry escapes his father's murderers and is saved from death in the freezing desert by Yellow Boy, a Mescalero Apache, who carries him to an old Organ Mountains rancher, Rufus Pike. Together Rufus and Yellow Boy raise Henry after promising they will help him avenge his father. They train Henry to be a sharpshooter and to survive in the desert with the skills of an Apache. As he matures, Henry is haunted by the idea that he has failed his mother because he couldn't save his father.

Tired of biding his time, at age fourteen Henry forces action against his father's killers by attempting and missing a long range shot to kill the murderers' leader. Escaping a pursuing posse, Henry, Yellow Boy, and Rufus hide in the Sacramento Mountains until, with a clever trap, they wipe out the murderers. Rufus is killed, leading Henry to question the price and value of justice and to wonder again why he has failed as a knight. To avoid any chance encounters with the law, Henry and Yellow Boy disappear into Mexico to join a band of Sierra Madre Apaches with whom Yellow Boy's second wife lives. Henry bides his time to finish his vengeance against Oliver Lee.


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Advanced Review Copy Endorsements


In this captivating tale, written with expertise and imagination, Farmer empathetically tells of a boy's quest to avenge his father's death. 

- Karen Casey Fitzjerrell, award winning author of Forgiving Effie Beck


Eight year old Henry Fountain witnesses his father's murder. Forced into hiding to preserve his own life from his father's vicious killers, Henry grows to manhood, guided to his vengeful destiny by a backcountry sharpshooter and the Mescalero Apache warrior, Yellow Boy who befriends him. Set against formidable kill-or-be-killed odds, Mariana's Knight builds a powerful story from the mysterious cold stones of the never solved Fountain murders. Spur Finalist Award winning author, W. Michael Farmer knows New Mexico's grandeur, its history and the memorable characters who take you there.
 
-Paul Colt, award winning author of Boots and Saddles: A Call to Glory.


In "Marianna's Knight," a novel populated by colorful historic and fictitious characters, bolstered by painstaking research and fueled by suspense and action, W. Michael Farmer skillfully weaves what is known to have happened with what might have happened to tell the story of one of the Southwest's biggest mysteries -- the 1896 disappearance and presumed murders of Col Albert Fountain and his 8-year-old son Henry in New Mexico's White Sands country.

-Ollie Reed Jr., New Mexico journalist and an editor and contributor to the book "Max Evans & a Few Friends."

or

-Ollie Reed Jr., New Mexico journalist and recipient of the 2016 Rounders Award, presented by the New Mexico Department of Agriculture to persons who "live, promote and articulate the western way of life

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HISTORICAL NOVEL SOCIETY (MAY 2017 EDITION)

 

This title releases MAY 2017 (Genre: Frontier Fiction)
"In the first days of February 1896, well-known litigator Albert Fountain and his eight-year-old son, Henry, disappeared. Recommended for readers who enjoy stories of the Wild West in late 19th-century America as well as for readers who appreciate a good theory surrounding historical events."
 
Mariana's Knight: The Revenge of Henry Fountain.
Farmer, W. Michael (Author) May 2017. 231 p.
Five Star, $25.95. (HC: 9781432833923). (eBook: 9781432836900)
In the first days of February 1896, well-known litigator Albert Fountain and his eight-year-old son, Henry, disappeared. They had traveled from their home along the Tularosa Basin in New Mexico so Albert could attend a grand jury meeting. He took his son along at the urging of his wife, Mariana. After the grand jury meeting, Albert and Henry started the long wagon-ride back home, but history lost track of the Fountains at that point. They never returned home, and no one has ever uncovered the truth about what happened to them. Their bodies were never found. Michael Farmer's novel risks one theory about their final days. It's not entirely implausible, though likelihood is low that this is how it played out. Ultimately it does not matter, as Farmer's writing encourages readers to find a connection to the characters and want to read through to the end to see how the story unfolds. Recommended for readers who enjoy stories of the Wild West in late 19th-century America as well as for readers who appreciate a good theory surrounding historical events.

Booklist (May 5, 2017)
 
This title releases MAY 2017 (Genre: Frontier Fiction / Historical Fiction)
"Farmer has written a well-crafted, readable story based on historical rumor and conjecture . . . this is a good read."
 

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Advanced Review – Uncorrected Proof Booklist Online Exclusive: May 5, 2017
Marianna's Knight: The Legend of Henry Fountain. Farmer, W. Michael (Author)
May 2017. 308 p. Five Star, hardcover, (9781432833923). EB: 9781432836900
 
Eight-year-old Henry Fountain is hiding beneath a large patch of New Mexico cactus, hoping his father's killers won't find him. Henry's father, Albert, was a prominent and well-respected frontier lawman and attorney who was battling to put an end to cattle rustling in 1896. One faction in the cattle wars, wanting him eliminated, send a band of killers after him. Yellow Boy, an Apache friend of Albert's, rescues the boy and takes him to the hideout ranch owned by Rufus, another old friend of Albert's. Fearing for the boy's life if he returns home, where he could identify the killers, Rufus decides to keep the boy and raise him. Yellow Boy and Rufus dote on the boy and, over the years, teach him many frontier skills, most of which have to do with fighting and revenge. The law seemed unable to touch Albert's murderers, but now, in his early teens, Henry gets the chance at the revenge he has been trained for. Farmer has written a well-crafted, readable story based on historical rumor and conjecture. Note that some readers may be troubled with the idea of teaching a young boy to disguise murder by calling it revenge, but, getting past that issue, this is a good read.
Reg Quist

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