Excerpt: “…there is a cinematic quality to this, his second book. Pyne is heavily invested in the visual, from the characters and their clothing to the Colorado mine country to the hole in the ground itself – a gold mine, purchased by Lee from an anonymous seller on eBay. All of it is described in detail, and often beautifully, and is shot through with an appreciation of and fascination for the history of the place, where Pyne grew up, and the hardscrabble prospectors who peopled it:
He could see over the treetops, across the valley to the skeletal ruins of the St. John’s Mine stamping plant, once the richest lode on the Front Range, with over three hundred employees and a foreman who had all his teeth capped cold with just the leavings that sluiced out of the placer troughs.
Lee, a high school teacher, begins excavating his mine on the weekends, joined by Doug, the amateur mining historian and county clerk, and Barbara, the mayor of tiny Basso Profundo Township. Pyne paces the novel masterfully, weaving Lee’s mining adventures with another, more somber exploration of his tumultuous relationship with his brother Grant, a recently released ex-con, and burgeoning romance with Rayna, the proprietor of the Township’s convenience store.