Mariana's Knight

Legends of the Desert - Book One

"...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."

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.

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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.


Will Rogers Medallion Award
Second Place – October, 2018

New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards Winner
Historical Fiction – November 2017

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Book Details

Series: Legends of the Desert (Book 1)
Hardcover: 308 pages
Publisher: Five Star Publishing (May 17, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1432833928
ISBN-13: 978-1432833923
Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.2 x 8.5 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds

“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.”


“Farmer has written a well-crafted, readable story based on historical rumor and conjecture . . . this is a good read.”

– BOOKLIST (MAY 5, 2017)

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