I don’t know much about Pancho Villa. At least, I didn’t until I read Knight of the Tiger. I knew Villa was one of a group of generals who competed for control of Mexico in the early 1900’s and that he led a raid into New Mexico in March 1916. I knew nothing about his background or his personality.
This third volume of the Legends of the Desert didn’t disappoint me. I did follow Henry on his further adventures. But I also learned about Pancho Villa.
At its finest, that’s what historical fiction does. It tells us a good story and also teaches us something along the way. However, Knight of the Tiger does more than that. It also explores the concept of revenge—when it’s appropriate, when it’s counter-productive, and what exacting it can do to the human soul.
Knight of the Tiger did a great job of telling a great story, teaching me some history, and giving me something to think about. I recommend it!
It’s one of New Mexico’s perennial mysteries: What happened to Albert Fountain and his son Henry? By the mid-1890s, southern New Mexico attorney and special prosecutor Albert Fountain had made a lot of enemies. It wasn’t surprising that those enemies would take advantage of Fountains’ trip across the Tularosa basin to take him out.
As a matter of fact, he and his wife expected as much. That’s why Fountain’s wife insisted that he take their eight-year-old son, Henry, with him to Lincoln, where Fountain was scheduled to present evidence against suspected cattle rustlers. Surely no one was wicked enough to kill a little boy, or murder his father while he watched.
When Fountain and the boy disappeared, the entire Territory was stunned.
And that’s where Mariana’s Knight diverges from the historical record. To this day, no one knows what happened to Albert and Henry Fountain in early February 1896. All that remained of them was a patch of blood soaking into the southern New Mexico sand.
Michael Farmer provides an interesting and vivid take on what might have happened that day and afterward and, in the process, gives his reader a look at New Mexico in the late 1800s.
If you’re interested in the Fountain mystery or the history of southern New Mexico, or if you’re just looking for a riveting Western tale, you’ll find Mariana’s Knight a fascinating read. I recommend it!