The King’s Lizard: A Tale of Murder and Deception in Old Santa Fe in 1782
Nando Anguilar is the young son of a Spanish don and a Ute slave. Captured and taken as a slave himself, he becomes a member of a slave caravan until he escapes and joins up with a military patrol. He serves for a short time under his step-brother, who is an officer. Then Nando becomes unwillingly immersed in the politics of the New Mexico frontier, the slave trade, and the Indian wars with the Comanche. Eventually he befriends New Mexico Governor Anza and works as his spy to discover who is murdering soldiers in the Spanish settlements.
This novel is well researched. Christie knows the New Mexico territory of the late 1700s, and she provides colorful details about the slave trade among the Indians and the Spanish settlers, as well as the class struggles between the “half-breeds” and the Spanish. However, the language used by the characters sounds too modern; their choice of words and phrases makes them sound too 21st century. Aside from the dialogue, this novel was a fine read.