Camels West is an epic adventure story based on a real but little-known period in America’s history.
The day the Alamo fell in 1836, Santa Ana’s soldiers botched the job of killing the Mexican infant Graciela. But the knife-cut across her throat did take away her voice forever. Now, twenty years later, the United States Congress is depending upon the young woman’s medical skills and courage to help their agent in a tactical experiment using imported camels. The camels are to be transport carriers as Agent McNeal surveys a wagon road along the 35th Parallel from Fort Defiance to the Colorado River.
If all goes well, use of these camels would be the first step in a plan to study, breed, and adapt camels at Camp Verde for both long-distance transport and war. Camels were used successfully by the Persian Army as artillery base carriers, and their reputation as “Gunships of the Desert” was impressive. Camels would be as familiar as the packhorse and donkey on the American frontier and in war! But the plan needed time, and the American Civil War and the railroad ultimately ended the experiment.
The camels, their handlers, the Comanche danger, and the trek are all true. This is the sensational story of the exotic camels and the commitment of a man and a woman to their jobs—and to each other.
U.S. government agent Jeremy McNeal is based on a real person. Graciela is fiction, to round out the story with romance and to add the dimension of a woman’s emotions. She is a representation of all the strong women who helped open the West. The herbal medicines and skills ascribed to her character have all been meticulously researched and are accurate.
Phyllis de la Garza is an award-winning author of more than a dozen published books, both fiction and nonfiction, about the Old West. She is a book reviewer for True West and Chronicle of the Old West, she has been a member of both Western Writers and Mystery Writers of America, and she has been a SPUR Award finalist. She is also the author of Charissa of the Overland and Silk and Sagebrush: Women of the Old West, both published by Royal Fireworks Press. She lives in Willcox, Arizona.