I reminded myself that once you start to defend someone, it’s difficult to find a place to stop. But I went ahead and took that first step anyway. . .
For President Teddy Roosevelt, controlling the east-west passage between two oceans mattered so much that he orchestrated a revolution to control it. His command was to ‘let the dirt fly’ and for years, the American Zone of the Panama Canal mesmerized the world, working in uneasy co-existence with the Panamanian aristocrats.
It’s in this buffered Zone where, in 1909, James Holt begins to protect a defenseless girl named Saffire, expecting a short and simple search for her mother. Instead it draws him away from safety, into a land haunted by a history of pirates, gold runners, and plantation owners, all leaving behind ghosts of their interwoven desires sins and ambitions, ghosts that create the web of deceit and intrigue of a new generation of revolutionary politics. It will also bring him together with a woman who will change his course—or bring an end to it.
A love story set within a historical mystery, Saffire brings to life the most impressive-and embattled- engineering achievement of the twentieth-century.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Brouwer's (Thief of Glory) captivating tale of intrigue, set in Panama in 1909, is tinged with romance, grounded in historical accuracy, and anchored by a powerful protagonist. James Holt's colorful past includes stints in Teddy Roosevelt's Rough Riders and Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show. When his old friend, now President Roosevelt, entices him to investigate sabotage at the Panama Canal construction site, Holt quickly finds conspiracies and collusions far darker than even Roosevelt imagined. While Panamanian revolutionaries attempt to wrench control of the canal from the U.S., white American Holt becomes more concerned with Saffire, a young mixed-race girl whose mother has mysteriously and improbably abandoned her. Holt is a complex hero of unmistakable integrity, driven by devotion and compassion and yet haunted by regrets. His steadfast determination makes him a courageous defender, but that same grit can become dangerously prideful. Holt occasionally needs a rescue himself. There are certainly inspirational elements to the story, but it doesn't delve deeply into religious or spiritual concerns. Brouwer's finely crafted, ethical tale will appeal to readers of historical fiction who appreciate clear divisions of good and evil.