New book revisits the settlement of San Juan

A sequel to The Undaunted, a best-selling book about the Hole in the Rock expedition, has recently been released.
Only the Brave, the Continuing Saga of the San Juan Pioneers, is the latest work of historical fiction by prolific author Gerald N. Lund.
Lund released The Undaunted: the Miracle of the Hole-in-the-Rock Pioneers, in 2009.
The book tells the story of the Hole in the Rock expedition that brought the first permanent settlers to San Juan County.
Only The Brave picks up the story of the San Juan pioneers in 1884, four years after the initial group arrived in Bluff.
The book recounts harrowing stories related to the challenges faced in Bluff, with the various Native American tribes in the region, with the large cattle ranches that developed, and with the ongoing realities of a harsh life on the San Juan frontier.
For those who are familiar with the works of Lund, this book follows a similar format. Historic events are recounted, featuring actual historical characters in addition to fictionalized characters. The new book covers approximately four years of time between 1884 and 1888, leading to the settlement of Monticello.
While Only the Brave is a sequel to The Undaunted, Lund says that there will be no additional books in the series. However, the fictional characters developed in Only the Brave, who are among the first settlers of Monticello, will be key characters in a new historical series entitled Fire and Steel.
The first volume in that series, A Generation Rising, was also released in the past week. A Generation Rising introduces a family in southern Germany. The family in Germany and the Monticello settlers will interact in the second volume of the Fire and Steel series.
Lund discusses the process of developing the new books in the preface to Only the Brave.
“To be honest, I had no plans to write a follow-up volume to the story of the San Juan mission,” writes Lund.
“In my mind, the ‘real’ story of the San Juan Mission was the incredible journey those pioneers made, which was so unfamiliar even to people like me who were born and raised in Utah.
“When those Saints finally reached Bluff in April of 1880 and said, ‘This is where we will stay,’ that was the end of the story in my mind.
“But then,” he adds, “… The descendants of those early Saints started challenging that decision. They were thrilled, they said, that someone had finally told the story.
“’But,’ they would say with considerable passion, ‘that was not the end of it. What happened is they stayed on to fulfill their mission is equally fascinating, equally compelling, and equally inspired inspiring. You have to let people know the rest of the story.’”
Lund said he started looking into the stories of other settlements in the region and added, “It didn’t take long for me to see that these descendants were exactly right. April of 1880 did end one aspect of the San Juan story, but what ensued in the years that followed is equally incredible. That is the genesis of Only the Brave.”
Gerald N. Lund is the most prolific author of historical fiction in the Intermountain West.
His works include The Work and the Glory series, The Kingdom and the Crown series, Fire of the Covenant, The Undaunted and Only the Brave, and now the Fire and Steel series.
The books are available at local bookstores, including the San Juan Record.

San Juan Record

49 South Main St
PO Box 879
Monticello, UT 84535

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