This is about three 12 year olds, Jack and the twins Beth and Sonny who live in the 1970s Panama Canal Zone, a community surrounded by water and jungle and steeped in Indian mysticism and lore. The three of them follow Jack’s eccentric and mysterious uncle Frank into the jungle and into a large Indian burial cave where they fall into a rift in time and space. They are transported to 1870 Colorado where the adventure really begins.
When I was eight years old my parents moved from Marlin, Texas to Panama and worked for the Panama Canal Company. The Canal Zone was a ten by fifty mile strip of land that was owned by the US government. It had US schools, courts, police and hospitals. It was a small piece of the US carved out of the jungles of Panama.
It was a tropical paradise and as a kid, it was a magical place in which to grow up. When I wasn’t in school I was either swimming, skin diving, fishing or in the jungle panning for gold and exploring.
Panama is the home of the shortest Indians in all of the Americas. At one time, Panama had a race of seven foot tall Indians. The first Indians came to Panama ten thousand years ago, so graves and burial caves abound.
Slaves were brought over from Africa by the Spanish. Many of the slaves escaped into the jungle and fought the Spanish with a fierce hatred. They eventually mated with both the Indians and Spanish and were called the Cimarrons. Many of them still live in the almost impenetrable jungles of Panama’s Darien Province where they practice the dark arts of a mixture of voodoo and black magic.
The Darien Indians have their own magic which is quite amazing and baffling. I don’t have time to go into it now, but the ceremony for choosing a shaman could wow audiences on the stages of Las Vegas.
My first book, The Travelers, begins with some of this Indian magic. Who is to say that these amazing Indians knew things that we have yet to learn?
I had the privilege to grow up in this wonderful place and I want to share some of this magic with you in my book.
This is not a children’s story.