cover image Glorieta Pass

Glorieta Pass

P. G. Nagle. Forge, $25.95 (448pp) ISBN 978-0-312-86548-1

Recounting the adventures of five people caught in a quandary of allegiances and passions brought on by the Civil War, this engrossing debut dramatizes the preamble to the 1862 battle between Texans fighting for the South and Union troops reinforced by ragtag Coloradans at Glorieta Pass, just outside Santa Fe, N.Mex. The characters, whose paths cross on the trail from Colorado to Texas in 1861, include an illiterate miner who dreams of becoming a gentleman by commanding a company of Colorado Volunteers; an orphaned young Bostonian woman adjusting to life in Santa Fe; the son of a Texas rancher who fights for the Confederates; a Tennessee man torn between conflicting loyalties; and a young Colorado officer with a murky past. Although at times the pace is slowed by a superfluity of characters and subplots, Nagle's tidy prose evokes memorable protagonists, vivid landscapes and high suspense, not only in the gut-wrenching action but also in the relationships between her characters. (Oct.)