California Gold Trilogy
​by Naida West

– Continued from Home page​​

All three books in the Trilogy are history novels. What is a History Novel?  
 
  1. Most historical fiction imposes a fabricated plot upon a historical setting. In Eye of the Bear and River of
    Red Gold real events are the guideposts, and the story moves from documented event to documented event.
    The author fills the gaps between the exciting, shocking and at times almost unbelievable events, providing motivation and connective tissue. 


  2. Whereas historical novels normally use fictional characters, in River of Red Gold all the major characters are historical people, names unchanged. In Eye of the Bear most of the major characters are real, and the author fills gaps when people important to the story are sketchy in diaries, books and military reports. Very few Native names are mentioned in historical documents, so this author names them. While this brushes history with a fictional gloss, to omit such people because they left no papers would perpetuate the greater fiction that the successful rebellion of the Native people over the Spanish-Mexican military and the California Gold Rush were all about Euro-American men.

  3. In most historical novels, conflicts between the needs of storytelling and historical facts are resolved in favor of storytelling. In all three novels of this trilogy the author veers toward history. 
 
In Rest for the Wicked a fictional main character is introduced for the first time in the series. Mae Duffy, 16, moves to the West expecting to marry a rich man and become famous. Many of the people she meets are real. And two important characters, sketchy in historical documents, continue the sad saga of the last Miwoks from the actual village featured in Eye of the Bearand River of Red Gold, a place the author visited on her morning walks for 37 years.  
 
In all three novels, readers interested in the details of fact and fiction should read the Endnotes.