The chase for gold in 1850s California attracted people from all over the globe: adventurers, criminals, families, and the occasional genius. Waiting for just the right moment to intervene were the Manipulators: individuals determined to generate wealth via the effort(s) of someone else. When an opportunity arose, they struck surely and quickly, at least as quickly as horses can move with trusted operatives in the saddles.
Brothers Charlie and Eli play the operatives in this tale of greed, science and, surprisingly, introspection. Their boss instructs them to meet a man in San Francisco who will help them locate another man who needs what the brothers do best: firm persuasion. Along their trek, the reader is introduced to a handful of stereotypical Old West characters, most of whom play their roles in expected fashion. The unexpected find is within the mind of one of the brothers, and his examination of the events and himself as the journey progresses.
The overall story can easily be classified as an average Western, complete with horses, saloons, guns and alcohol. The philosophical musings of Brother Eli and the prose of the writer captivate the modern reader and make this work a true page-turner.
Rated: Moderate. There is very little profanity, yet there is plenty of sexual discussion (and description), though none of it crosses over into the realm of vulgarity.