Local authors Richard Hurley and TJ Meekins are celebrating the release of their new historical fiction, "Queen of the Northern Mines," with a book signing and free multimedia show entitled "California and the Civil War."
"The novel begins in November of 1860, just before the War breaks out. Will Stafford, a young attorney from Virginia, arrives in Nevada County and instantly attracts the attention of bloodthirsty outlaws and passionate females," says co-author Meekins. "Our mother and daughter heroines, Molly and Ida Hatfield, run a stage stop at the You Bet Diggings called 'Missouri House.' It's a microcosm of the colliding cultures that are forming California.
"Molly has a foster son named Nutim, a Maidu orphan. Through him we feel the shock and sorrow of the indigenous people as their ancient world is destroyed by 'wolem,' the 'white ghost people.' Their Chinese neighbors at The Lucky Stars Mine use the term 'gwei lo,' which means the same thing in Cantonese. Missouri House's cook, Esmeralda, and her son Pedro have fled the Salinas Valley for fear of 'los Yanquis.' Every character in the story has a different take on the issues at stake in the American's Civil War."
People and places from Nevada County history weave through the story: Niles Searls presides over an E Clampus Vitus initiation, and the Chinese of Marysville bring their famous parade dragon to Nevada City.
"We don't want to give away the surprises in our plot," says co-author Hurley, "so we have designed a multimedia show that focuses on the background of our story instead.
"We'll look at historic images of 1860's Nevada County. Grass Valley was home to many Southern partisans, while Nevada City stood by the Union. We'll recount the tale of 'The Great Scare' - the night Nevada City was convinced Grass Valley would attack."
Advance copies of "Queen of the Northern Mines" will be on hand for signing by the authors.
The event takes place from 2 to 4 p.m., Saturday, June 11, at Tomes Books, next to Sierra Mountain Coffee Roasters, 671 Maltman Drive, Grass Valley. Admission is free.
For information, visit www.BearRiverBooks.com