The Committee of Vigilance of 1851 has disbanded and violent crime is on the rise again in San Francisco. By 1854 the city averages nearly two murders a day with only a handful of convictions; armed criminals, cutthroats and the riffraff rule the streets at night. Efforts to outlaw gambling and prostitution have failed despite laws to prohibit these practices and public clamor to enforce them. By 1855, San Francisco has 537 saloons, one for every fifteen men, women and children.
Placer gold deposits are nearly exhausted, yet gold seekers continue to arrive in droves. Competition for the meager gold remaining along the rivers fuels intolerance and animosity against foreigners, especially Mexicans, South Americans and the Chinese; even French and Italian miners are threatened. The San Francisco economy tumbles into recession which foments growing economic and political tensions.
Southerners seeking to carve out a slave-holding state in Southern California gain control of California’s government and highest courts. California appears headed, like the nation, to a civil war over slavery. Will Manon’s restaurant be a target of the pro-slavery factions because she rescues and employs two former Chinese sex slaves? Will the economic downturn doom the restaurant and Pierre’s entrepreneurial enterprises? Can one raise a family and survive in this corrupt, lawless, and ruthless town as hotheads incite violence and chaos and push the city to the brink of civil war?
“Once again author Ken Salter demonstrates a complete mastery of his storytelling skills at writing an historical work of fiction that is solidly enhanced with meticulous attention to background details. The result is pure entertainment from first page to last. Very highly recommended reading.” — Jack Mason reviewing GOLD FEVER Part Two in The Midwest Book Review.