The tinkling of guitars in the moonlight; the softly hummed words of a Spanish love song; the sweet, liquid music of the bells in the mission San Carlos De Carmelo; fleeting pictures of old Father Junipero Serro—these and a hundred other rich memories flood the mind as one unfolds the story of little Suzanna, a peon girl, poor, futureless at a time when the Dons and the grandsons of the conquistadores were supreme in California.
You think of Ramona; the dust covered stretches of El Camino Real—the King’s Highway—appear before your eyes; you hear the roaring of quaint, old-fashioned, muzzleloading guns, the clash of cold steel; subconsciously you thrill to the deeds of valor, of sacrifice and danger. You are in step with romance and adventure when it was in its heyday in Old California.
Red-lipped, smoky-eyed senoritas smile on you; your nostrils dilate with ungent aromas of hot, golden brown tortillas, or fragrant, steaming tamales; for you the clock has been turned back a hundred years—you walk in a land that is gone, but in which fate played as recklessly with the lives of men and women as it does in our own world today.
Harry Sinclair Drago was one of the grandfathers of the Western genre, and an enormously prolific writer. He wrote three books a year, on average, when he wasn’t working as a Hollywood screenwriter or newspaper columnist. He is the recipient of the Buffalo Award for best western book of the year, the National Cowboy Hall of Fame Award, and the Western Heritage award.