- Castle Gap, a break in a mesa some 12 miles east of the Pecos River, used by Comanches on the warpath, emigrants seeking California gold and cattlemen driving Longhorns up the Goodnight-Loving Trail;
- Horsehead Crossing, the most infamous ford of the Old West, considered the graveyard of hopes by drovers and emigrants alike;
- Juan Cordona Lake, the cast salt lake where sandstorms and skull-baking sun defied early efforts to mine the salt needed for everyday survival on the frontier;
- The “bulto” or ghost who wanders the Fort Stockton night in search of peace;
- Lost Wagon Train, a 40-wagon caravan entombed in the sand of West Texas;
- Will Sublett, who found a fortune in gold hidden in the Pecos Country and kept the secret of its location even unto death.
In the foreword, Texas novelist Elmer Kelton, a lifelong resident of the Pecos River country, recalls the stories and legends he heard as a youngster and comments on the rich mixture of history and folklore they represent. Dearen’s years of research into these now-aged mysteries and legends included personal visits with many resident and old-timers of the Pecos Frontier. A complete index lists everybody interviewed and quoted. In addition, he read yellowing newspapers and dusty court records and walked the country himself, finding the landmarks. From his search emerges a fascinating picture of an inhospitable land, its heritage and its people.
“Castle Gap and the Pecos Frontier”, is illustrated with maps and both old and new photographs.
"Fierro doesn't just observe, she knows. Like all great novelists, she gives us the world." - Amy Bloom, bestselling author of Away and Lucky Us
It is the summer of 1992 and a gypsy moth invasion blankets Avalon Island. Ravenous caterpillars disrupt early summer serenity on Avalon, an islet off the coast of Long Island--dropping onto novels left open on picnic blankets, crawling across the T-shirts of children playing games of tag and capture the flag in the island's leafy woods. The caterpillars become a relentless topic of island conversation and the inescapable soundtrack of the season.
It is also the summer Leslie Day Marshall—only daughter of Avalon’s most prominent family—returns with her husband, a botanist, and their children to live in “The Castle,” the island's grandest estate. Leslie’s husband Jules is African-American, and their children bi-racial, and islanders from both sides of the tracks form fast and dangerous opinions about the new arrivals.
Maddie Pencott LaRosa straddles those tracks: a teen queen with roots in the tony precincts of East Avalon and the crowded working class corner of West Avalon, home to Grudder Aviation factory, the island's bread-and-butter and birthplace of generations of bombers and war machines. Maddie falls in love with Brooks, Leslie’s and Jules’ son, and that love feels as urgent to Maddie as the questions about the new and deadly cancers showing up across the island. Could Grudder Aviation, the pride of the island—and its patriarch, the Colonel—be to blame?
As the gypsy moths burst from cocoons in flocks that seem to eclipse the sun, Maddie’s and Brooks’ passion for each other grows and she begins planning a life for them off Avalon Island.
Vivid with young lovers, gangs of anxious outsiders; a plotting aged matriarch and her husband, a demented military patriarch; and a troubled young boy, each seeking his or her own refuge, escape and revenge, The Gypsy Moth Summer is about love, gaps in understanding, and the struggle to connect: within families; among friends; between neighbors and entire generations.