CABALLERO’S PENANCE [The Bold Caballeros] by Johnston McCulley

Forced to Live as a Peon in Penance for His Sins—He Learned What It Truly Meant to Be a Caballero!

From the author of The Mark of Zorro comes another thrilling novel of swordplay and romance in Spanish California. Don Fernando Venegas, caballero and scion of a proud Castilian family, knew nothing of the sweat and suffering of those who labored under his rule. That is, until he killed a rival in a duel, with malice in his heart, and accepted the penance imposed by his priest and confessor, Fray Marcos. For three months he must live as a peon, enduring the blows, the toil and the humiliation that is their daily lot, forbidden under pain of being refused absolution to ever reveal his true status.

How Don Fernando, now known only as Fernando, met up with the mysterious peon Pablo, the giant outlaw El Cougar, his beautiful sister Singing Wind, and the evil, sheming Luis Rios—how he saved the peons from being dupes of an unscrupulous demagogue working for Rios—how he almost lost his inamorata, the lovely Senorita Manuela Moreno, and his own head—how he became a champion of the downtrodden, whose swordplay and daring equaled those of Zorro . . . makes a swift, action-packed tale of Spanish California guaranteed to thrill every reader who loved the same author's tales of the black masked carver of Zs!

Originally titled Don Peon.

JOHNSTON McCULLEY's novels of old California are far from the usual run-of-the-mill adventure story. Tiring of the stereotyped backgrounds other authors used, McCulley researched the early mission days in California and wrote The Mark of Zorro, a story that won the hearts of readers around the world. Using the same background, he went on to write nine more exciting and carefully researched tales of Old California, using the techniques he learned writing pulps to give them pace, suspense, and an unequalled panache. Each of the stories McCulley set in Old California contains an authentic flavor of the proud Castilians who once ruled the Pacific Coast, the Franciscan friars who built their civilization out of the natural world—and who held themselves as the supreme arbiters of all spiritual and moral matters—and a real feeling for the underdogs, the colonized peons on whose backs that civilization was carried.