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Father Junípero’s Confessor: A Novel

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Length: 319 pages5 hours

Summary

Led by the zealous Fray Junípero Serra to the fringes of the Spanish Empire in the mid1700s, Franciscan missionaries Francisco Palóu and Juan Crespí are as fervid as their master about the opportunity posed by Alta California: to gloriously swell the kingdom of God through conversion—consensual or forced—of the native people. As Crespí and our sensitive but bitterly envious narrator, Palóu, vie for Serra’s fickle favor, a chain of their newly established missions creeps north up the fogenshrouded coast from Mexico. A master stylist and a meticulous researcher, Nick Taylor vividly captures the atmosphere of early California as he dramatizes the politics of the era: the horrifying and tragic gaps in understanding between priests and natives; the vicious power plays between crown and church; and the fervor, ambition, and desperation that fueled European settlement of the region. This novel’s publication coincides with the celebration of the 300th anniversary of Junípero Serra’s birth.

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