City of the Saints Historical Note #1

I stole my title from one of my protagonists.

In real life in 1860, Captain Richard Burton, East India Company man, linguist, Nile explorer, swordsman, falconer, and erstwhile ersatz hajji (ahem), traveled to Salt Lake City.  He wrote a book about his journey, called The City of the Saints.  Burton was a clear-eyed and unshockable observer, and this book is well worth reading even today.  Here’s my favorite bit, from his description of meeting Brigham Young:

Altogether the Prophet’s appearance was that of a gentleman farmer of New England — in fact such as he is: his father was an agriculturist and revolutionary soldier, who settled “down East.” He is a well-preserved man; a fact which some attribute to his habit of sleeping, as Citizen Proudhon so strongly advises, in solitude.

Burton’s real-world journey is the seed from which this gonzo action steampunk fantasy sprouted.

About David

I'm a writer. This is my blog.
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