Carolina Harper is bound to traverse the Santa Fe Trail in the spring of 1846. War with Mexico is imminent, and Santa Fe lies in the heart of the contested territory. Still numb from the death of her son and husband, Carolina sets out from Westport, Missouri with a freed slave, a Mexican servant, and a scarred, reticent Mountain Man.The Santa Fe Trail is fraught with dangers. And beyond the travails of the perilous journey lies a territory claimed by two powerful nations preparing for war. Carolina, like New Mexico, finds herself torn between two cultures. Born in America of Spanish descent, she enters the strange and marvelous world of her father's origin only to come face to face with the most feared man in New Mexico -- her father's mysterious brother, who will stop at nothing to crush the swelling tide of the invading Anglos.