Nevin's History: A Novel of Texas
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A sweeping saga of South Texas The turbulent lower Rio Grande valley of the 1870s is the backdrop of this epic historical novel of romance, violence, and the struggle for civilization on the frontier. Against that backdrop protagonist Andrew Nevin, newspaper reporter, Civil War draft dodger, informer, and self-professed coward, tells a story of three legendary figures: Texas Rangers John "Rip" Ford and Lee H. McNelly and the bandit mayor of Matamoros, Juan Cortina. In 1875, cattle theft and savage retribution along the Rio Grande are approaching open warfare. The governor of Texas has appointed thirty-two-year-old consumptive McNelly to lead a special force of Rangers to end the banditry. Pursuing his goal, McNelly twice invades Mexico, with predictably violent results. Fifty-year-old Cortina, who lost his American citizenship after a war with his fellow Texans in the late 1850s, is rumored to be behind the rustling. Following these tensions is Rip Ford, who has retired to Brownsville after a long career through the Mexican and Civil Wars and fighting Comanches. Hoping to avert war with Mexico, Ford assigns Nevin, his nephew, to join McNelly?s force and report back to him. Suspected by everyone, Nevin treads an uncomfortably fine line, taking solace in the love of two women, Mexican courtesan Catalina Taracón, and Jessie Ford, Rip?s young wife. When events force Nevin to leave Brownsville and begin a new life in San Antonio as a saloon owner, theater critic, and reputed "nancy," Rip and Jessie Ford and McNelly?s Rangers continue to influence his life, as do gunslingers and San Antonio citizens. In attempting to redeem himself by telling the history of the border wars, Nevin also chronicles the growth of San Antonio and the influence of civilization on South Texas at the end of one century and the beginning of another.