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Book Image Not Available
Book details
  • Genre:HISTORY
  • SubGenre:United States / State & Local / General
  • Language:English
  • Pages:412
  • eBook ISBN:9781618500229

The Cross and the Mask

How the Spanish 'Discovered' Florida - and a Proud Native Nation

by James D. Snyder

Book Image Not Available

The Cross and the Mask chronicles the clash of religions, weapons and wills as a documentary novel faithful to actual dates and events. Through the eyes of the Spanish swashbuckler Pedro Menéndez and the young Indian Lujo, we see two perspectives that led to death and devastation for both peoples.

Winner of the Florida Historical Society's coveted Patrick Smith award for best adult fiction.  Winner of the Silver Award by the Florida Authors and Publishers Association for best adult fiction book.  


When Spanish settlers first arrived on the shores of ''La Florida' in 1565, they would soon be immersed in one of the most dramatic struggles in human history. At first Florida seemed so inviting. A virgin tropical wilderness would be settled and cultivated to yield riches rivaling the bounty of gold and silver that treasure ships already brought back from Mexico and South America. And, the Spaniards hoped, the peninsula might be inhabited by primitive natives who would quickly embrace Christianity and happily raise a bounty of crops and food animals for the tables of Europe.

No better man could King Philip II pick to lead the Enterprise of Florida than fearless, swashbuckling Pedro Menéndez de Avilés. But Menéndez and his men found themselves confronting fierce and fearless native Americans who had forged a proud kingdom older than Spain itself. The Cross and the Mask follows the Spanish seafaring settlers as they struggle for a tenuous foothold on Saint Augustine, then move south to Cape Canaveral, Jupiter Inlet, the Miami River, and finally on to the Calusa stronghold on an island near today's Fort Myers Beach.

The same journey chronicles the clash of religions, weapons and wills as a documentary novel faithful to actual dates and events. Through the eyes of the Spanish Menéndez and the young Indian Lujo, we see two irreconcilable perspectives that led to death and devastation for both peoples. Eventually, Spanish force would prevail, but only in another century.

About the author

Author/historian Jim Snyder has written several books ranging from first century Judeo-Christian history to the 5,000-year-old history along Florida's Loxahatchee River. Before moving to the Jupiter, FL area he spent some 30 years as a Washington-based correspondent and magazine publisher. Snyder has served on the boards of the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse and Museum, the Florida Historical Commission and the Loxahatchee River District.

The Cross and the Mask is Snyder's first "documentary historical novel," meaning that dates and sequence of events are actual, but with some fictional characters.   

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