This second volume of Bradford Morrow’s projected New Mexico trilogy, begun with the critically acclaimed Trinity Fields, “burrows more deeply than before into the moral thickets of 20th century American politics and history” (New York Times Book Review).
When after years of secrecy Ariel Rankin learns that her birth father is not who she had always believed he was, but rather a man named Kip Calder who went to fight in Vietnam before she was born and then disappeared into America’s secret war in Laos, her once irrefutable world is shaken to the core. For years, Ariel tries to ignore this shattering discovery, but eventually realizes she can no longer elude her buried past if she is to have any kind of future. Deciding to leave her life behind in New York City, she heads west to find the mysterious Calder.
Ariel’s search will lead her from the holy village of Chimayó—the same place where the two protagonists, Kip and Brice, go as teenagers to seek atonement in Trinity Fields. From there she shadows Kip to Los Alamos and the pueblo valley of Nambé, and ultimately across the restricted, nightmarish, pitiless badlands of the White Sands proving grounds.
Many memorable characters populate the way along Ariel’s path: Franny Johnson, who has shed her past in Gallup to pursue the dream of Hollywood; Marcos Montoya, who with his family of Nambé horse breeders has adopted the fragile Kip; Delfino Montoya, whose southern New Mexico ranch was confiscated by the government to test the first atom bomb; and Kip himself, who fights his final war even as he is about to come to the reconciliation that will restore his humanity, and possibly bring Ariel fully to life.