On the first of February, 1896, Albert Fountain, prominent attorney, legislator, and tough leader of Indian and outlaw fighting militia, despite threats on his life and his eight year-old son Henry being with him, drove his wagon across the wild and lonely Tularosa basin of New Mexico. They were returning home after Albert’s two-week meeting with a grand jury to obtain indictments of ranchers for cattle theft.
Mariana Pérez de Ovante, Albert’s wife, believing no one attacked a man traveling with a little boy, had begged Albert to take Henry with him. When Albert finally acquiesced, she asked Henry to be her knight and protect his father. When Henry exuberantly agreed, she gave him a carved ivory horsehead pocket watch fob to remind him of her pride in his choice to be her knight and protect his father.
The historical facts are that on that windy, freezing day, the first of February 1896, Albert and Henry Fountain disappeared. Their bodies never found, their empty wagon miles out in the desert headed for the ranch of an enemy, their horses gone, and near where their wagon turned off the main road, a patch of blood-soaked sand glistened in the sunlight. Legends say Henry survived to avenge Albert’s murder, but only the wind and dead men know for sure.
Mariana’s Knight is gripping historical fiction, a fact-filled story, still debated today, of tragedy and revenge that carries the reader across a whirlwind of time, characters, and events in the desert southwest.
About the Author
W. Michael Farmer learned about the rich mosaic of historic figures depicted in his books while living in Las Cruces, New Mexico for fifteen years. He has a Ph.D. in Physics and has conducted atmospheric aerosol research. He has published short stories in anthologies, won awards for essays, and published essays in magazines. His first novel, Hombrecito's War, won a Western Writers of America Spur Finalist Award for Best First Novel in 2006 and was a New Mexico Book Award Finalist for Historical Fiction in 2007. His novels include: Hombrecito’s Search, Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright: The Betrayals of Pancho Villa, Conspiracy: The Trial of Oliver Lee and James Gililland, and Killer of Witches, the Life and Times of Yellow Boy, Mescalero Apache.