Nueva California - A New Historic Novel About Early California

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“Nueva California” – A Two-Volume New Historic Novel Released About Early California


April, 2018. Monterey, CA. For history lovers, an engrossing two-volume novel, Nueva California, has been published spanning several centuries (1519-1857). The story traces the early years when Spaniards from Mexico came to colonize California and Father Serra began to establish the mission system up and down the coast of the state.  The books provide a rare glimpse into the lives of those who lived during the rise and fall of the missions in California.


About the story:


In 1775, young Diego Soberanes is considered one of the greatest and most charismatic singers to ever grace the stages of Mexico City. But a scandalous affair with a powerful officer’s wife forces Diego to flee to remote Nueva California. There, Diego takes refuge at Mission San Carlos Borromeo, where he will serve under his spiritual idol, Father Junípero Serra. Though he believes he will soon return to the lights and glamour of Mexico City, it is not to be. Over the remainder of his 102-year life in Nueva California, Diego will experience love, tragedy and redemption, even as his life parallels the rise and fall of the California missions.


Though young Diego is a performing “superstar” of the Mexico City stages, he has made enemies and must flee to distant Nueva California in 1775. Taking refuge at beautiful, but remote Mission San Carlos Borromeo del Rio Carmelo, Diego believes his time there will be brief. He teaches music at the mission and serves under his spiritual idol, Father Junipero Serra. Then, Diego meets Antonia, an Indian maiden with whom he becomes smitten. He takes his romantic pursuit too far, however. Fearing their indiscretion will be discovered, Diego devises a plan whereby he and Antonia can escape the mission.


Diego’s attempt to spirit Antonia away from Nueva California ends in tragedy—Antonia is killed by enemy warriors in the Valley of the Oaks, not far from Mission San Antonio. Diego is arrested and brought back to the Bay of Monterey.  After a brief time of imprisonment, Father Serra banishes the bitter and grief-stricken Diego from the territory. At first, Diego is relieved to be free of Nueva California, but a few years later, finds himself pulled back. He returns to the Bay of Monterey to seek redemption and live within sight of the mission he comes to love over the years: Mission San Carlos Borromeo. Diego will live to see the mission reach its peak, become secularized under Mexican rule, then finally become abandoned in the 1830’s. Diego will die within the mission ruins in 1857.  


According to author Todd Cook, “I have always been interested in the origins of California when Father Serra came to the area. Readers will feel like they are stepping back in time and looking at that bygone era through the eyes of my protagonist, Diego Soberanes.. I enjoy helping my readers imagine what it was like to live in a California that was basically an isolated “Eden” at the farthest edge of the civilized world—there were no real towns or major roads. It's hard to imagine this today.” 


About the Author -Todd Cook:


There were multiple sources of inspiration for author Todd Cook’s historical novel, Nueva California. The first would be his 25 years of living on the Monterey Peninsula, where he not only visited historic sites, but took in the published works of numerous Peninsula historians.


Todd was the son of a Chaplain in the Navy and lived in seven states throughout the U.S. He

graduated from Asbury College in Kentucky with a B.A in English and earned an M.A in American History from American Public University. For three years, Todd was a volunteer with the Carmel Mission Art and Artifact Inventory Team, followed by a stint operating a local Spanish History Tour.  In 2011, Todd read the James Michener novel, Hawaii which inspired him to wonder if he too could write a Michener-like epic novel, one with the Carmel Mission at the heart of the story (a California, if you will).


Nueva California is Cook’s third novel and fifth published book. His non-fiction titles include Uncovered: The Lost Coins of Early America (2006) and The Pirate History of Monterey Bay (2016). When Todd is not writing, his interests include sports (particularly baseball and basketball), hiking, traveling, visiting historical sites and numismatics. He is also on a quest to prove that a 13th century coin he obtained three years ago proves once and for all that medieval crusaders actually did find the lost Ark of the Covenant!


The books are now available from Floricanto Press and Amazon Books:


Nueva California: Volume I. By Todd Cook. ISBN-13: 978-1984277886 $23.95

6" x 9" Black & White on Cream paper. 230 pages


Nueva California: Volume II. By Todd Cook. ISBN-13: 978-1984279620 $23.95

6" x 9" Black & White on Cream paper. 338 pages


Nueva California: Volumes I & II. By Todd Cook. ISBN-13: 978-1984279620 and ISBN-13: 978-1984277886 $35.95


About Floricanto Books


Floricanto Press, a premier publisher of Latino Books, focuses on Latino/Hispanic people and trends. Its publishing programs examine a broad spectrum of social, cultural, political, and economic issues impinging upon our pluralistic communities as well as the societal structures at large affecting them. The press publishes Latino books and specifically seeks writings articulating an analytical discourse on issues which include a Latino perspective.  


To schedule an interview, please contact Wendy Brickman at (831) 594-1500 or email [email protected].