A Swallow Press Book
By Frank Waters
“Waters represented a wonder-filled, romantic West—a wild place possessing a great people and an even greater landscape of deep desert canyons and mystic mountain slopes.”
Telluride Times Journal
Based on one of the most significant periods in Frank Waters's own life, Pike's Peak is perhaps the most complete expression of all the archetypal themes he explored in both fiction and nonfiction.
In The Dust within the Rock, the third book in the Pikes Peak saga, an aging Joseph Rogier clings to his vision of finding gold in the great mountain and his grandson Marsh comes of age in the Rogier household. It is the early part of the twentieth century, in Colorado Springs, and the schoolhouse, the newsstand, the railroad, the mines—all become part of the younger man's emergence into adulthood and self-discovery.
Waters's powerful and intuitive style transforms the tale into a mythic journey, a search for meaning played out in the drama of everyday living on the vast American frontier.
Pike's Peak (1971) is composed of three condensed novels: The Wild Earth's Nobility, Below Grass Roots, and The Dust within the Rock. Some years after its publication, an interviewer asked Frank Waters whether it was autobiographical. “Yes,” he replied, “and no.”
Frank Waters (1902–1995), one of the finest chroniclers of the American Southwest, wrote twenty–eight works of fiction and nonfiction.
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During the fabulous reign of Colorado Silver, innumerable prospectors passed by Pike’s Peak on their way to the silver strikes at Leadville, Aspen, and the boom camps in the Saguache, Sangre de Cristo, and San Juan mountain. Then, in 1890, a carpenter named Winfield Scott Stratton discovered gold along Cripple Creek. By 1900, this six square mile area on the south slope of Pike’s Peak supported 475 mines and led the world in gold production.
In Below Grass Roots, the second book in Frank Waters's Pikes Peak saga, turn-of-the-century Colorado Springs is prospering with the mining boom and a growing tourist industry. Patriarch Joseph Rogier becomes ever more obsessed with the treasures of the towering mountain and tries to enlist his son-in-law Jonathan Cable in his mining schemes. Cable instead leaves for Navajo country with his young son.
The Wild Earth's Nobility is the first of Frank Waters's semiautobiographical novels in the Pikes Peak saga. Here, in a frontier town in the shadow of the commanding mountain, the Rogier family settles near an age-old route of migrating Native Americans. In an era of prospecting, silver strikes, and frenzied mining, Joseph Rogier becomes a successful building contractor, rears a large family, and is gradually overwhelmed by the power of the great peak.