“Mixing adventure & historical fact, Molinski takes the reader on a thrilling ride through the faraway and mysterious Mosquito Coast of Nicaragua. Like James Michener, he mixes well-researched history in a story that includes adventurers, missionaries, Indians, the richest of American society and down-on-their-luck denizens. An exhilarating debut!” -- Joan Kruckewitt, author of The Death of Ben Linder: The Story of a Northamerican in Sandinista Nicaragua and former ABC Radio correspondent in Nicaragua.
“Who knew that the Mosquito Coast played such a large role in the start of U.S. imperialism, industrialization, slavery and the Civil War? What’s frightening is that the same thing seems to be taking place today on a global scale.” -- Karl Taro Greenfeld, former Time magazine senior writer and author of Speed Tribes and Triburbia.
In this explosive novel of Central America and the United States, acclaimed storyteller and foreign correspondent Michael Molinski takes readers on a journey back in time to the days of pre-Civil War United States, when the U.S. was just beginning to be recognized as a world power. Competing countries, religions and capitalists were fighting over who would dominate and control the Caribbean and Central America, and the people of the region were doing their best to control their own destiny.
THE ROOTS OF IMPERIALISM
It is 1851 and Nick Malone is faced with a life-changing decision: should he remain as a Wall Street trader and marry his socialite fiancé, or should he follow those who are seeking riches in the California Gold Rush. Or, should he choose a third option: an offer from wealthy American statesman Cornelius Vanderbilt to go to Nicaragua and open a new transoceanic transportation route and canal across Central America? Follow Nick’s decision as he sets off on a series of adventures that plots the course for the future of Central America but also of U.S. imperialism, global capitalism, Civil War and Manifest Destiny; and how his romance with a strong-willed Moravian missionary affected all of that.
It is 1864, 13 years after Nick Malone first set foot in Nicaragua, and Anna Henkel is preparing a speech:
“This is the labor code of the United States of America,” she said, holding up a thick book for all to see, her voice raising as she did so and growing stronger.
“This is the labor code of the great country of England,” she said, raising an even thicker book in her other hand.
She then picked up a blank piece of white writing paper.
“This,” she said, “is the labor code of the Mosquito Coast…
“We are in the nineteenth century, yet we are living in the Dark Ages. Slavery is being abolished everywhere. The United States is fighting a war on the issue. And here on the Mosquito Coast we can’t even give rights to white workers, let alone blacks and Indians. Mr. Malone is right. Business is going to pick up here once more foreigners like him realize the tremendous potential of our natural resources. Do we want to give them everything and get nothing in return? Because that is exactly what they will do…and then they will leave, and we will be just as poor as when they got here.”