This novel was largely inspired by a love of the Grand Canyon; the landscape and the lore. A favorite bit of real history is the two Stanton expeditions (1889-1890) to survey the Colorado River for the construction of a railroad. It was as much a harrowing adventure, if not more so, than Major Powell’s more famous expeditions 20 years earlier. The railroad was deemed feasible but was never built in real life.
That is where I unravel the strings of history. It’s the early 1970s but this is not the American west you are familiar with. Events and history have changed. Both state and international borders have shifted. Political, technological, and urban development of the west flowed down a different course. There is a new state, old territories, and an old war never fought. The geography of the west is intact, though not all the action takes place somewhere you could find on a map.
A final note, regarding my, perhaps, blasphemous treatment of the Grand Canyon by building a railway through it. What I offer when pondering this for myself is, in this world, Lake Powell never was, Glen Canyon still is, and the status of native peoples of the southwest has been raised by giving them a land with statehood. I won’t say it’s a better world, just a different one. I hope you have fun exploring it with me.