Rebecca and her husband, Carl Kettner, pay a terrible price when their youngest child parishes on the journey west. The tragedy puts a strain on the new start and their marriage. And now, the family’s farmstead in Hungry Hallow is at stake. The powerful Ramage family is trying to force the Kettner’s off their ranch, the “K Dot.” Carl, who has always been high on his prospects, becomes resigned that he cannot hold out against the Ramage Land, Water & Stock Company. He becomes known as “Dark Carl.”
Strapped for cash, Dark Carl agrees to leave his wife and children to hire on with the Ramage outfit to purchase cattle at auction in San Antonio. He is immediately enmeshed in a series of double-crosses, orchestrated by the cattle empire’s heir-apparent, Will Ramage. Back at Hungry Hollow, the struggle becomes a test of family resilience. Rebecca and her children, Caleb and Lilly, must ward off the Ramage’s numerous attempts to intimidate the family off their land.
Separated by hundreds of miles, the Kettner’s endure awful setbacks and losses. Aided by an unlikely assortment of allies—a lecherous neighbor, a Washoe fur trader, a stagecoach operator, a bordello whore, and a future governor—the family stands firm. But, as with the biblical trials of Job, Dark Carl can’t help but wonder whether God has abandoned him.
David A. Carrillo lives in the Northern California Area. His interests include writing about nineteenth-century California. As a historical fiction writer, David is a regular contributor to the website journal Trial Post 1850. “The Emergence” is his first novel.
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