The Journey of the Flame

A slow ride through exotic territory

On the night of his 104th birthday, Don Juan Obrigón—tall and straight, with hair still flaming red—prepares to tell his life story to assembled relatives and guests. The story he will tell describes his travels as a boy of twelve in 1810, when he accompanied the Spanish viceroy of Baja California from the southern tip of Baja California to Monterey.

The Journey of the Flame is that rare treasure, an artfully imagined work of fiction that is based on meticulous research and brings life to the study of history. Here are the manners, textures, and tones of Spanish California, transcending all stereotypes. A slow ride through exotic territory the book is rich in leisurely pacing and dense detail that truly capture another time and reveal another world.

Considered a masterpiece of California literature by an entire generation of historians, geographers, and literary critics, The Journey of the Flame has been long out of print but is now available in a new and beautifully designed California Legacy edition.

About the Author

Walter Nordhoff (1855—1937) had a mining engineering degree from Yale, and worked as a European correspondent for the New York Herald before moving west to manage fifty thousand acres of his father’s land in Baja California, the area that inspired The Journey of the Flame. Nordhoff’s father, Charles, was also a writer, whose work includes travel guides and books on religion and slavery, and Nordhoff's son, Charles Bernard Nordhoff, coauthored the the Mutiny on the Bounty trilogy.