The digging of the Panama Canal is well underway when James Holt is called from his ranch to travel to the isthmus as a favor for an old friend. There he takes a mulatto girl under wing and helps search for her missing mother, little anticipating the tangle of politics and intrigue awaiting him in the newly-formed country.
As I wasn't sure what to expect at the beginning of this story, I continued to be surprised as it went along. It has a decidedly western flavor, as the narrator is a cowboy, yet it's set in the midst of the tropics and one of the greatest engineering feats of the time. Mystery and politics play a heavy role. I would describe it as a guy book.
With any newborn country--especially those in which other nations want a stake--the politics are complex, and clearly Panama was no exception. I wish I had known more about the historical figures involved and the political climate before diving into the book, as it would have made it a little easier to read. It wasn't really confusing--just complex.
I'll admit I enjoyed the parts with Saffire the best--not only is her plight more moving, but she's also a precocious, fun character. I wish she had featured more in the latter part of the story. I also rather enjoyed meeting the mysterious and historical Mr. Miskimon, who becomes more intriguing as the story goes on.
Thank you Blogging for Books for providing a free book to review. I was not required to make it positive, and all opinions are my own.