PROLOGUE - THE UNOFFICIAL STORY
…San Francisco is no more. The Paris of the Pacific, the wealthiest and wickedest of American cities, is now ash and memories. All that remains are blackened wharfs, the iron puddle of a church bell, a mound of cinders where a school once stood, hilly graveyards of charred bricks and melted iron skeletons, an endless scorch mark that was once the grandest boulevard in the West.
A city of four hundred and fifty thousand frenetic souls; shaken from its moorings, burnt to a crisp, vanished from the face of the earth.
The fire stopped a block below us, here at the crown of Telegraph Hill, sparing seven houses where once were thousands, seven sullied teeth in the mouth of a black-gummed giant. Seven houses where once sat a raucous Barbary Coast, a majestic Market Street, a teeming Chinatown, seven houses for all of North Beach and Russian Hill and Cow Hollow and the Embarcadero.
I write my story, still floating in a sea of ash. Ash that was once the city of San Francisco: once someone's mansion, someone's opera house, someone's tenement, someone's bakery. Someone's someone.
Let me tell you what really happened here, before deception triumphs and the truth is lost forever. Let me paint for you the Imperial City of San Francisco: part Paris, part Dodge City; literate and boorish, libertine and feudal, a soiled Mecca, a beacon for those who had grown weary of the broken promises.
I offer my own version of this extraordinary tale, one that began well before the
holocaust. It is a personal observation; part history and part memoir, an attempt to add a human face to a most inhumane series of events.
Four hundred and seventy-eight dead, they report. Four hundred and seventy-eight. There were that many bodies in the twisted tenements South of Market, on Howard Street alone. The true number is in the thousands.
I must offer a shifting mosaic of characters and events as no one story could ever render up the heart of this great matter, of a wondrous and dangerous city that is no more. I rely upon a bit of hearsay, tales retold, on points of view disparate and even contradictory. I have used diaries and letters, from both the living and the dead, to construct my story. I must fictionalize, on some accounts, the words and actions of characters who neither I nor my legion of observers could record firsthand. Those instances are quite small in number. The liberties I take are minor.
What transpired here was a war for a city's heart that merely climaxed on April 18, 1906, at 5:13 A.M., a moment etched in the memories of all who survived. But if earthquake and fire is all that is remembered, then all is lost, for what we truly witnessed was a battle between good and evil the likes of which we have not seen outside of war. Good men and women, the unlikeliest of heroes, might have stopped it. The warning signs were everywhere.
The die was cast, not by the great earthquake but three days earlier, when the true heroes began to assemble. They were an unlikely lot: a runaway Kansas farm girl, a Chinese slave girl, a martyred fire chief, and a group of fearless young cops they called The Brotherhood. Lest anyone question the inspired significance of the cast, God, who loves a wild yarn as much as anyone, sent His voice, the great Enrico Caruso, to entertain us.
Most of all, there were the Fallons: Byron, a man whose belief in justice consumed him; Christian, his oldest son, a man at war with his own soul; and Hunter, the younger son, who found greatness before our eyes.
The story began, not on April 18, the day the Devil called, but three days earlier, when a remarkable young man named Hunter Fallon came home from Stanford.
Remarkable indeed, for Hunter alone might have saved us.
eBook Publication Date: January 22, 2013
eBook; 368 Pages
eBook; 368 Pages
Genre : Historical Fiction/Mystery/Thriller
Every disaster has a backstory, none more thrilling than this one. Set during the great San Francisco earthquake and fire, this page-turning tale of political corruption, vendettas, romance, rescue—and murder—is based on recently uncovered facts that forever change our understanding of what really happened. Told by a feisty young reporter, Annalisa Passarelli, the novel paints a vivid picture of the Victorian-era city, from the mansions of Nob Hill to the underbelly of the Barbary Coast to the arrival of tenor Enrico Caruso and the Metropolitan Opera. Central to the story is the ongoing battle—fought even as the city burns—that pits incompetent and unscrupulous politicians against a coalition of honest police officers, newspaper editors, citizens, and a lone federal prosecutor.
With the appeal and texture of The Alienist, Carter Beats the Devil, and the novels of E. L. Doctrow, James Dalessandro weaves unforgettable characters and actual events into a compelling epic.
Praise for 1906
“Imagine ‘Gone with the Wind’ set against the backdrop of the great San Francisco Earthquake…it steals your breath away.” -Bookideas.com
“A Bold, Sweeping Novel…Richly Textured…Extraordinary.” -Vincent Bugliosi (author ‘Helter Skelter’)
“loaded with admirable historical detail and raptor civic corruption as murderous as the San Andreas Fault.” -Oakley Hall (author, the Ambrose Bierce mysteries)
“…will keep you at the edge of your seat.” -The New York Sun
“..action packed…exciting and vivid.” -Kirkus
“A riveting account of corruption, greed and murder…” -Dallas Morning News
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About the Author
James Dalessandro was born in Cleveland Ohio, and educated at Ohio University and UCLA film school. In 1973 he founded the Santa Cruz Poetry Festival with Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Ken Kesey, the nation’s largest literary event. He has written for Playboy, the Examiner newspapers, SanFrancisco magazine. He was writer of the House of Blues Radio Hour and created the nationally syndicated program “Rock On” with Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek. He has published four books: Canary in a Coal Mine (poetry); Bohemian Heart (noir detective fiction); Citizen Jane (True Crime); and 1906: A Novel (Historical Fiction). He is award winning writer/director/producer of the documentary film THE DAMNEDEST, FINEST RUINS (PBS/KQED), and writer/producer of the Hallmark Movie “Citizen Jane,” based on his book. He is screenwriter of “1906” the upcoming Pixar/Warner Brothers live action film based on his novel of the same name. He lives in San Francisco with his wife Katie and best pal Giacomo Poochini.
You can learn more about James on his website and connect with him on Facebook, Google+ and Goodreads.
Thanks to the lovely Amy at Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours I am able to offer one copy of 1906 up for giveaway (eBook copy, open internationally)!! All you have to do is enter your name and email address on the giveaway form HERE. Please be sure to leave both your name and your email on the form so I can contact you if you are my winner (no email address, no entry!). For extra entries you can follow the blog in various ways (all links are on the right hand sidebar) and leave the name/email you follow with on the form. That's it!
I'll use a random number generator to pick a winner on May 19th, 2016 and will announce the winner here as well as email the winner to let them know they've won. I'll then forward the winner's information to the tour organizer so they can get the book to the winner. If you have already won this giveaway on another site please let me know so I can pick a new winner and give someone else a chance to win a copy of this great book.
1906 Blog Tour Schedule
Blog Tour Kick Off & Giveaway at Passages to the Past
Thursday, April 14
Spotlight at The Reading Queen
Friday, April 15
Excerpt at The Never-Ending Book
Tuesday, April 19
Guest Post at The Writing Desk
Review at Eclectic Ramblings of Author Heather Osborne
Thursday, April 28
Spotlight & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More
Excerpt at Historical Fiction Addicts
Tuesday, May 3
Spotlight at Let Them Read Books
Wednesday, May 4
Spotlight at Broken Teepee
Friday, May 6
Interview & Giveaway at The Maiden’s Court
Monday, May 9
Review at Book Nerd
Thursday, May 12
Excerpt & Giveaway at A Literary Vacation
Friday, May 13
Guest Post at Jorie Loves a Story
Tuesday, May 17
Review at Beth’s Book Nook Blog
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews
Wednesday, May 18
Review at Jorie Loves a Story
Monday, May 23
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views