This fictional account of the life of Juan Bautista Chapa weaves together the facts of his life to paint a vivid picture of one of the defining early figures in the history of Northeastern Mexico and Southeast Texas. At the same time, the novel pulls the reader into a deeper meditation on the nature of reality, imagination and consciousness, a consideration of what makes us human and the meaning of 'Enlightenment.'


Juan Bautista Chapa, was born Giovanni Battista Schiappapetra in a small Ligurian town near Genoa, Italy in 1627. At the age of 13, he sailed for Cádiz, then emigrated to New Spain at the age of 19. Once in New Spain, he travelled to the frontier region of Nuevo Leon, where he built a long and distinguished career as the secretary and advisor to a long line of Governors and wrote what became the first written history of Northeastern Mexico and Southeastern Texas for the years 1650-1690.