Luisa Murillo wants a better life. Married at fourteen and a mother of two children she birthed on the dirt floor of her husband's shack, she dreams. Luisa and her husband Juan Pedro have lived in the sleepy village of San Juanico their whole lives, in remote Baja California Sur, Mexico, a tiny corner of the world where modern life of the 1960's has yet to spread its tentacles. Their home is near the mountains and the sea, but it is far from anywhere.
Juan Pedro decides to leave in search of something better in the faraway "city" of Insurgentes. Along with his friend Felix, Juan Pedro is drawn into the schemes of small-time local politicians and fringe drug runners, who are set on "opening the Baja Peninsula for business." Although Luisa, Juan Pedro and Felix cannot know, their village is in the line of fire between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, which are bound to collide in their landscape like two runaway freight trains.
In Insurgentes, crafty businessman Sammy Gonzo and tycoon Oscar Padilla are determined to build roads and airstrips, expanding the access of drug runners and entrepreneurs. Cowboys and tough-as-nails women vie for survival in the romantic Baja desert. As deals are made, the stakes rise, and the lives of everyone in San Juanico are put on the line.
San Juanico follows the stories of Juan Pedro, Luisa and Felix, as well as four other central characters: Antonio Sanchez Ruis and his love interest Anna Marie, Antonio's cousin Leonardo Ruiz and his wife Carmen. In their world, prosperity exists in isolated pockets along-side of wretched human existence on the precipice of change. As the characters face the trials of their humanity, they learn to love, to grow, to accept, and to run toward their dreams.
Author Guy Bonnivier lived seasonally in a lonely palapa on the Sea of Cortez for twenty years, close to the unique people and the land. He attempts to capture the essence of that time and place in this gripping tale, his debut novel.