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|Additional Physical Format:||Online version:
Lea, Tom, 1907-2001.
Hands of Cantú.
Boston, Little, Brown 
|All Authors / Contributors:||
|Description:||244 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm|
|Responsibility:||Tom Lea ; Illustrated by the author.|
There was a time when horses and their riders were strangers to the vast reaches of the New World. There was a time when the explorer rode North, before there was a West, to search out the enormity of desert, mountain and sky. There was a time when strange foxfire gleamed in dark Spanish eyes, and the "malady of gold" infected the minds of the conquistadors. Here are the scenes of these rendered by the talented brush of author-artist Tom Lea. Here are the hardened men of the New World -- the heavy-browed Spanish and the coarsely featured Indians. Here, in thirty exquisite Chinese ink drawings, are the great reaches of the Southwest, and, above all, the noble horses of Old World lineage. And here is the story of these times, told with the compelling immediacy which distinguished Tom Lea's The brave bulls and The wonderful country. The "hands of Cantú" are the gifted hands of the best horseman ever seen in New Spain, Don Vito Cantú, and into these hands is put the custody of young Toribio de Ibarra. Together the two ride to Acuichál, Don Vito's great livestock hacienda, where Toribio learns the fine art of horsemanship on the majestic animals with their Cross-Enflanked marking. The youth is held spellbound by the mastery of Don Vito, a mastery which is close to necessity in the cruel spaces of northern Mexico. Toribio becomes versed in the story of the original seven horses of the Ibarra stud, brought to Doon Vito himself across a stormy Atlantic. And the youth is well drilled in the cardinal rule of the conquistadors -- to keep all savages on foot, for mounted they would prove a terrible threat to Spanish domain. Then to disturb the quiet of Acuichál comes a gaunt Spanish gentleman and his strange Indian companion. Their tale of Cross-Enflanked horses in the hands of the savages puts a furious gleam in the eyes of Don Vito Cantù, and launches a six-man expedition on an odd and intrepid journey seventy uncertain leagues into the wilderness above the Great North River. "The revealed and visible enormity of earth's space and sky's space dwarfed and shrank us, a horseback company, to pinpoint size," writes the awed Toribio. Yet these diminutive few face the renegade Basilio Ro, the golden yet fatal threat of the fabled "true Quivera," and overpowering numbers of jealous native in a story, more fact than fiction, set in the savaged, untamed Southwest of four hundred years ago -- Book jacket flap.